Biography – Job - Trusting God Despite Suffering!
Did your wife become bitter or was she misunderstood?
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Do you like your name? Some do and some don’t for various reasons. We know certain people by their names, but it’s not their birth or given name. Here’s an example. Who is Caryn Johnson[i]? You know her as Whoopi Goldberg. How about Robert Zimmerman? That would be Bob Dylan. Let’s play a game. I’ll give you a name you tell me who this person is. Who is Cherilyn Sarkisian LaPiere?[ii] You know her at Cher? Who is Eileen Regina Edwards? [iii] That would be Shania Twain. How about Thomas Mapother IV? His middle name might help – Cruise. Tom Cruise! Sometimes you wonder why people change their name, but not with this lady. Who is Joyce Penelope Wilhelmina Frankenberg? Need another clue? She was the lead role in the TV show, Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman. You know her as Jane Seymour! I totally get why she changed her name but then there’s Chad Johnson who changed his name to Chad Ochocinco and Ron Artest to Metta World Peace. But my all time favorite has to be Mark Duper. Mark Duper played Wide Receiver for the Miami Dolphins for 10 years. He legally changed his name to Mark Super Duper. Mr. Super Duper said and I quote my name change /“matches everything I do and everything I strive for.”[iv] /
I want you to meet a woman and we don’t even know her name and most consider her anything but super. Turn to Job chapter 2! Do you need a Bible today?
Last week we left Job completely sick. He’s suffered emotionally in chapter 1. His children are gone. He’s suffering physically in chapter 2. Look at what Satan did in verse 7? (Read 7 & 8) Have you ever smashed your finger before? Usually it’s some type of door. Most times a car door! I’ve done that a couple times. One time was real bad. Blood started pooling inside the nail. It hurt and throbbed so bad. I begged my Dad to help me. One of my Dad’s many skills was being a mechanic. He had a tiny hand drill. He had me place my hand on a table holding my finger very still. He took that tiny drill and bore down ever so slightly and when he did he popped a hole in my nail and instantly my finger stopped throbbing. Job’s sores are infected. When he scrapes them he gets an instant, temporary relief. Life is not often a 30 minute sitcom where everything instantly gets better. His life did not get instantly better. Job 7:3 tells us he suffered for months. In light of that type of suffering, here comes Mrs. Job. Talk about a cameo appearance! She’s limited to one verse. Listen to what she says – find verse 9.
If we could interview Job I’d love to ask him, “Did your wife become bitter or was she misunderstood?” I imagine his answer would be – “a little of both!” Truth is, I’d rather we go straight to the horse’s mouth. I wish we could just interview her! I bet she would shed more light on what she was saying. How can we judge her when we don’t know her? Plus, we are discounting what she has been through. She too lost all financial security. She also buried seven sons and three daughters. And now she watches helplessly as her husband suffers. Which again is harder – you suffer or someone you love suffers?
Based on verse 9 let’s answer a question! What is Job’s wife saying? Is it possible that Mrs. Job is saying, “I can’t take this anymore? I can’t take watching you hurt. Job, just let go. If you die your hurting will stop!” When my Dad was in the last stages of cancer. I begged God that he would take him. I begged God that he would die so his suffering would stop. Nancy Braughton is coming down to her last days on this earth. I asked John, her husband, can I pray she goes to heaven soon. And he resoundly said yes. John said that’s his prayer too. Now don’t get me wrong. We pray for people to get well physically. Many do. Many are healed miraculously. Some right in this church. Others around the world. But sometimes God takes people to heaven.
Now here’s what I hope Mrs. Job is NOT saying! Commit spiritual suicide. She gets blasted because of her choice of words. Go back to verse 5? Who does she sound like in verse 9? Augustine labeled her “the devil’s accomplice”[v] and here’s why. She uses the word bârak/baw-rak' which means “to kneel or to bless.” [vi] But sometimes people used this word to mean the opposite of what they said. The opposite of bless is to curse. We do this all the time in English. Do you remember the movie "The Incredibles"? At the very end of the movie a little boy says this, (Video clip) “that was totally wicked!” But that’s not what he meant. He didn’t mean wicked as evil or very wrong or very bad. He meant the opposite of wicked. He meant really good! It appears Mrs. Job is tempting her husband to call it quits on God. Just deny Him and he’ll zap you and your misery will end! It’s like pulling a gun on a cop. You may really not want to pull the trigger. But they will pull their trigger.
These verses show us that our words are more important that what we realize. I totally believe that Mrs. Job is misunderstood. But suffering can get to you. We say things we don’t mean. She’s starting to get bitter! Have you ever seen a TV show called, “What would you do” hosted by John Quinones? Well, tell me what would you do? Karissa Smith from Wheaton, Illinois took her 4-month-old daughter to the library. Her daughter babbled softly as she browsed through the books. As they walked, Karissa heard an older man say gruffly, "Tell that kid to shut up, or I will." Angrily, she responded, "I am very sorry for whatever in your life caused you to be so disturbed by a happy baby, but I will not tell my baby to shut up, and I will not let you do so either."
She braced herself expecting another outburst. Instead, he looked down, took a deep breath, and said softly, "I apologize." He looked up at her with tears in his eyes, and remained silent. Finally, he looked at her daughter. She smiled at him and happily kicked her arms and legs. He wiped his eyes and said slowly, "My son died when he was 2-months-old."
They moved to a couple of chairs and sat down. He went on to explain that his son died from SIDS over 50 years ago. He described how his anger grew, leading to a failed marriage and isolation. She asked him to describe his son. As he did so, he smiled back and forth with her daughter. Eventually, he asked to hold her. She let him. As he held her, his shoulders relaxed, and he briefly laid his cheek on her head. Then he gave her back, said "Thank you" and walked away.[vii]
Does anyone doubt that man’s pain? Does anyone doubt he’s bitter? Mad at God? Mad at his ex-wife? Mad at himself? Turn to Hebrews 12:14. How can you miss the grace of God? You become bitter. That is resentful. Disappointment leads to resentment. How does a person stop being bitter? The Apostle Paul said this in Ephesians 4:31. You have to proactively get rid of bitterness. How? Look at verse 32. You get rid of bitterness by embracing what God did for you through Jesus. You remember that God is good! I think that’s what Job does for his wife. He shows her grace. Look at Job’s words in verse 10! I don’t think Job was harsh with his words! He’s sick. He’s physically weak. I don’t think he shouted or scolded or rebuked her. He doesn’t call her a fool. He in essence is saying, “Honey, you don’t sound like yourself. Where’s that wife of mine who makes me laugh? Whose smile is contagious? Oh, I forgot – your heart hurts like mine!”
Here’s the perfect time to ask this question. How can we help someone whose suffering? Job’s wife gives us one answer. #1: Don’t pretend you understand someone’s pain! A few weeks ago I was at Riverside Hospital. I was visiting a few people. The point and purpose of seeing someone at the hospital is to pray. So I prayed for them and then began to leave. I’m not totally sure why, but I admit, I was in a bad mood that day and apparently my face showed it. I was walking down the main corridor heading to the parking garage when I passed two women I’ve never met before. One woman looked up at me and said, “SMILE!” And I said under my breath, “I’m trying!” Now may I ask you? Do you think her comment made me feel better or worse? It made me feel worse. Actually she miffed me. How dare she say to me, SMILE! She doesn’t know me. She doesn’t know my situation or circumstances. Don’t pretend you understand someone’s pain. It’s time we meet Job’s friends. Find verse 11. (11-13) Job’s 3 friends give us a second answer. #2: Just be there. Sometimes hugs are better than words. A pat on the back. Hold their hand. Get them some food. Just be there for a bit and then go home. Job himself gives one more answer. Go back to verse 10. #3: Point people to God! Job pointed his wife back to God. Sometimes that’s all people need – a little perspective. The sovereign God has it all figured out. Don’t live your life like the other shoe is going to drop. Just decide to trust God. Apparently that’s what Mr. & Mrs. Job decided to do. Turn to Job 42:12. (Read 12a-14a) Aunt Jemima was named after Job’s daughter.[viii] Call me crazy, but it appears their marriage is just super duper. When their suffering ended, they moved on. Will you? Or will you let bitterness ruin your life? “But Greg, you just don’t know what I’ve been through!” You’re right, I don’t. But God does. One more time, tell me, which is harder. Is it harder for YOU to suffer or to watch someone you love suffer? Which is harder? Not being able to help someone or being able to help but not helping! God could have prevented his son’s own death, but didn’t. That’s insane love!
[v] Daniel Darling, The Most Misunderstood Woman in the Bible, Kyria.com
[vi] www.e-sword.net and Logos Bible Software/Job 2:5&9/curse
[viii] James E. Smith , The Old Testament Books Made Simple, 122