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Suffering: You, God, and Your Spouse

The Adversary departed from the Lord’s presence and struck Job with severe sores from the sole of his foot to the top of his head.  Job took a piece of broken pottery to scratch himself and sat down on a mound of ashes.  Job’s wife said to him, “Are you still clinging to your integrity? Curse God, and die.”
Job said to her, “You’re talking like a foolish woman. Will we receive good from God but not also receive bad?” In all this, Job didn’t sin with his lips.
-Job 2:8-10


The accuser and tempter

Satan is the accuser (Rev. 12:10).  Satan found someone to speak his words, and that person was Job's wife.  She gave up her faith in God and urges Job to do so.  "Give it up!  This faith thing with God doesn't work."  She sarcastically adds, "look at the 'blessing' God has bestowed upon you." 

Like Eve, Job's wife tempts Job to sin and fall.  Satan will use the closest person he can find, including your spouse, if he can; to tempt to to doubt God. 

Job is gracious to his wife.

Job does not condemn his wife.  Job speaks the truth in love, with wisdom.  Wise words lift someone up.  Wise words call someone higher.  Wise words say, "you are better than that behavior, so come up higher and let that go."

Job does not judge her, nor condemn her, nor shame her, but calls her higher.  Godly wisdom never says that sin or evil is ok, but calls us to leave it; and proclaims, "that is not your identity".  Wisdom sees a sinning saint, and calls you back to sainthood.  Wisdom sees spiritual orphans and calls them to repent and be adopted in Christ.

Job tells his wife, "you are talking like a foolish woman".  Notice that he does not call her a fool.  Satan would love for you to call your spouse or your neighbor a fool or an idiot. 

Job's Wife is Cynical

Cynical means:
  1. Believing that people are motivated by self-interest; distrustful of human sincerity or integrity.
  2. Doubtful as to whether something will happen or is worthwhile.
  3. Cynicism also involves skepticism, pessimism, and sarcasm.
Cynicism is the fruit of unprocessed grief or burnout.  God is not cynical and godly people, like Job, are not cynical.  Grieve.  Do your grief work.  Get your rest.  Rest in God.  Abide in God.  Turn to God, in faith, when trouble hits.

Job did not sin with his lips

Job persevered under his trial.  Satan's goal was to prove that Job if Job lost everything, including his health, he would curse God to God's face.  
"Job faces toward God with anguish, puzzlement, anger, and bitter complaints, but never turns his back on him to march off - godless - into the dark night." (NIV Study Bible, notes)

Job was upset, distraught, grieved, angry, horrified, and baffled; but not cynical, skeptical, or sarcastic towards God.  You can be very upset, very upset with God; and express this to God, in God's face....  and not sin.  That's what Job did.  You can have faith, maintain your faith; which is faith in God's faithfulness, while you are very upset.

When you are going through your suffering, you might go to prayer and say you are going to, "let God have it".  Some of us might think such a person lacks faith or is irreverent, but actually they passionately love God and are full of faith.  Did you know that the opposite of love is not hate, but indifference?

You can get very angry with someone you love.  You can love God, have strong faith, but have many questions, even doubts.  You can believe but have unbelief.  You can love, but not understand.    You can be vexed and perplexed, but stay connected to God.  

Baffled To Fight Better

Oswald Chambers: "There are things in our heavenly Father's dealings with us which have no immediate explanation.  There are inexplicable providences which test us to the limit and prove that rationalism is a mere mental pose.  The Bible and our common sense agree that the basis of human life is tragic, not rational, and the whole problem for us is focused on this book of Job.  Job 13:15 is the utterance of a man who has lost his explicit hold on God, but not his implicit hold, "Though he slay me, yet I will trust in him."  That is the last reach of the faith of a man.  Job's creed is all gone; all he believed about God is disproved by his own experiences, and his friends when they come, say in effect, "You are a hypocrite, we can prove it from your own creed."  But Job sticks to it, "I am not a hypocrite, I do not know what accounts for all that has happened, but I will hold on to it that God is just and I shall see Him vindicated in it all."
   God never makes His way clear to Job.  Job struggles with problem after problem, and providence brings more problems all the time, and in the end Job says, " mine eye seeth thee" (Job 42:5): all he had hung onto in the darkness was true, and that God was all he believed Him to be, loving and just, and honorable...
   Will I trust the revelation given of God by Jesus Christ when everything in my personal experience flatly contradicts it?"1

1.  Oswald Chambers, The Unseen Universe (formerly Baffled To Fight Better), p. 16-17

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