Let’s be honest, the people in The Bible really aren’t all that different from people today. We just have a few more ways to broadcast our drama and shortcomings that weren’t available thousands of years ago. If Job had a MySpace, you KNOW he would have been an angsty pre-teen replacing top friends left and right because of fights about a girl (if you don’t know what MySpace is, it’s like Facebook, but even more shallow). He is a drama QUEEN at the top of his game, still continuing his speech from my last blog post. Every so often, his friends will interrupt him and try to bring him back down (or maybe up), but he is really feeling himself. I’m not saying this is a bad thing, as it allows him to process his emotions with other people and to hear them out loud in a way that makes them tangible. The problem with keeping everything bottled up, is that the bottle rarely ever gets bigger, but the problems keep on coming. What I mean by that is that once you hit adulthood, achieve spiritual maturation, or whatever you want to call it, you can pretty much handle the same amount of stress or emotion by yourself regardless of the situation; your emotional reservoir is only so big. That’s why it’s important to surround yourself with other people who are striving for the same kinds of things that you are, even if it isn’t in the same manner that you are.
However, there are some shortcomings in Job’s argument with God that wouldn’t quite hold up in the courtroom. Now I’m not saying Job is on trial here, well he kind of is, but some of the things he says are slightly irrational. For example, Job keeps pointing out the fact that he’s blameless in all of this and he also keeps pointing out that God has most definitely kept track of his sin and his wrongdoings and should see that he doesn’t deserve this. Now here’s the problem with the word “deserve:” We all deserve to die a sinner’s death, because we ALL fall short of His glory, but He sent His son to die for us and bear the cost of those shortcomings. There’s nothing we can do to earn it, which is counter intuitive to a society that puts people’s worth in their performance, and their value into how much value they can add to the team. Job, at least from my perspective, is treating God like a statistician evaluating talent, keeping a record of everything he’s done, comparing the good to the bad like a scale. In Job’s mind, his scale is far tipped in the balance of good, the problem is, we’ll never be good enough; the good news is, we don’t have to be, because Jesus filled that gap between good and good enough.
Another key aspect that Job is missing, that his friend Zophar points out is that Job does not, and cannot, understand the ways of God, if he could, he would be God. So many times in life, we try to interpret and analyze things that only God can understand. I think that Job knows that he couldn’t possibly understand this, and I think that’s where most of his rant stems from, but his emotions are still valid. Even if he’s a little off-base, even if he’s a little dramatic, even if he’s even based his arguments to God in some logical fallacies, Job’s words are valuable to this situation. They allow him to actually be able to put a pin on his emotions, so he can properly interpret how he feels and what he truly thinks about the situation. He isn’t keeping them bottled up, internalizing everything until he dies, or things get better, he’s pissed and he’s going to let God know about it. This gives his friends a chance to respond, and there’s value in that, as they help him navigate his way through this terrible situation. The worst thing Job could do is to isolate himself and put himself in emotional solitary confinement. The enemy works best on an idle and lonely mind, that’s why it’s important for us to have these conversations, even if it seems like no progress is being made. I almost always regret the conversations I don’t have more than the ones that I do, even if they were a fight or difficult, because then at least I know and can proceed forward in a constructive manner. I’m not sure what Job’s next step will be after this, but pouring out his emotions like this is a great start to an important journey of self-discovery and intimacy with God.