“Oh, remember that my life is a breath! My eye will never again see good.” (Job 7:7, NKJV)
Job has suffered a terrible loss. He lost his kids, his wealth and his health all within a short amount of time. It was wave after wave with precious little time to breath. When his friends showed up, they were kind at first, but when Job expressed the thoughts of his heart and the pain he was going through, things took an unkind turn.
Here Job is responding to Eliphaz, but not really. He is addressing his complaint to God. He is in pain and agony and needs to express his heart.
I have encountered Job’s friends. They are people who always want to correct someone’s theology rather than to hear them out, have compassion on them and point them to the love of God through Jesus Christ. When we are in the throes of pain, we are not thinking correctly. We need to express our pain, but saddly in our culture, we are told that pain is weakness and a lack of faith. Therefore, we play games when it comes to our pain. A brother might ask us how we are doing. We say, “Fine.” The brother walks away. Nothing was accomplished accept the enemy’s victory in isolating the one with pain.
We see this in the military. Guys who have had a tremendous amount of stress due to war come back to a “normal” life when their tour is over. Then they are asked, “How are you?” The answer? Again, “Fine. I am doing good. Still in the fight.” When everyone can see they are not doing fine. They need help, but won’t ask for it. It is weakness.
I would venture to say that this attitude is proliferated by the people around us. Job’s friends. If we express our pain, we immediately get pad answers: “It’l get better”, “You gotta have faith”, “Trust the Lord, man.” These are all good biblical answers. However, they work just about as much as when a Christian passes a brother that is in need and says, “be warm and full”, but doesn’t provide the means to be warm and full. You see, our theology is correct, but living that theology has become academic, cold and un-helpful.
We have to understand that a person who is in horrible pain and agony doesn’t know if they are ever going to get better. I have been there. We begin to think, “This is just how life is. I am going to be in pain every single day, then I will die and it will all be over.” There were times I longed for death because there was no hope. I told my doctor that I had given up and not to help me. His response was, “Do you believe in God?” I said, “Yes.” he said, “Good. He believes in you.” At that moment a spark of hope went back into my life and I was once again ready for the fight.
Remember that a person that is suffering doesn’t need a theology lesson. They don’t need to be told that, “The Bible says…” They need to be shown what the Bible says. They need you to be the living epistle of the love of Jesus Christ in their lives. After the pain, when hope is restored, you can then get them into a good Bible study and show them why you did what you did. Remember that faith comes by “hearing” the word of God. I would venture to say that a person in pain will hear your life a lot louder than black and white on a page. Once they do that, then you can show them the black and white and why it is so important.
Expressing our pain to God is not sinful. If that was the case, then the book of Psalms would not have been written. God is big enough to handle your pain. In the end, Job did see better days. In fact, he saw good once again. But not before God revealed Himself to Job. The best way to love and serve a person in pain is to show them the Jesus that you know and love. The best way to do that is with your life.