All throughout my life, I always felt like we could only take our best to God, from our overly holy prayers, too our positive spin on people’s situations. One of the things I feel that modern day Christianity lacks is true empathy among its people. think about it, during times of tragedy, what are the 2 things people love to say the most (especially Christians). 1. Everything happens for a reason, and 2. God has a plan. While both of these are true, I think their overuse has contributed in part to a much larger problem at hand: people’s inability to be genuine with God and with each other, and people’s inability to cope with negative emotions.
If you’ve ever encountered something truly terrible or morose, which I think most of us have, you realize that the only thing you want from the ones who love and support you is their presence. When my dad was in the hospital, and someone would come to visit him, there was nothing more frustrating than someone trying to fix everything, bombarding us with questions, or trying to cheer us up. All I ever wanted, more than anything, was for the person to come in, sit down, and shut up. It sounds weird, but them just being there says everything, and in Westernized culture we are so uncomfortable with silence that we feel the need to fill every moment with incessant noise. To us, silence means something bad, silence is awkward, and we treat silence from God the same way. We get worried and start to fill that silence with our own thoughts and feelings, even if it isn’t a reflection of how God feels about us, or why He created us. I think that’s what Job is doing in this moment, and who can blame him?
In these chapters, Job puts God fully on blast, and tells Him to end it all and stop with this nonsense. Each day is worse than the last, and to make matters worse, his friend Bildad is trying to make Job feel better by putting his suffering into perspective. Unfortunately for Bildad, and almost every other situation in which someone is truly suffering, is that a response just isn’t going to make things better. Society has conditioned us with happy endings and puppies and rainbows, when in reality, sometimes life just sucks, and that’s all there is to it. It’s like in one of my favorite song lyrics from “Great Things” – Elevation Worship, the first lines say: Thank you for the wilderness, Where I learned to thirst for your presence. If I’d never known that place, How could I have known You are better?
This is such an important concept for people to grasp, that sometimes suffering will happen, and it’s okay to FEEL things during that time, and it’s okay to take those feelings to God, like Job is doing in these verses. If the only things you’re taking to God are those Sunday crowd prayers, you know the go to’s that you’re comfortable saying in front of others, then you will never have a real relationship with Him. You have to be your true self, and take those feelings and dump them on God, because where you take your problems says a lot about where you put your value.
Now what’s important is walking the fine line between wallowing in those thoughts, and giving them up to God, but what you definitely shouldn’t do is keep them bottled up until you think they’ll go away, because they won’t. Don’t ever let anyone tell you it’s not okay to feel a certain way, I mean look at the characters of the bible. Job is over here having a full on TED Talk about wanting to die, and someone like David, yes THAT David, was darn near 2 different people within the same prayer, jumping between ecstasy and despondence. The most important thing to remember is that we’re human, and it happens, but the biggest mistake of all would be to say nothing.