Today was one of those days. I have noticed that when my pain is unrelenting and I am exhausted trying to hold it together emotionally, I've actually become very sensitive to the things of God. I’m studying the book of Job (actually co-teaching it too). This morning I was trying understand Job’s side of the discourses with his friends. And how he stands before God. I know that Job is called blameless 3 times at the beginning of the book. I read in Job 2:10 – In all this Job did not sin in all he said. At the end of the book we read that God answered Job out of a storm. A thought came to me. Did Yahweh shout, or did He whisper through the storm? Either way, my attention would have been riveted. Kind of like the burning bush and Moses. Storms and fire don’t normally talk! As I thinking about it this morning I thought, was Job required to repent of his attitude and conversation he had had with his friends? Did he cross the line? Was he still blameless? Knowing that this is a very old book and that Job's trouble probably happened during the time of the patriarchs (think Abraham, Isaac and Jacob), the Mosaic Law had not yet been given nor was the sacrificial system for sin in place, such as the Tabernacle and sin offerings, etc. As I was thinking about this I realized something. Job was HURTING during his conversations with his friends.
He was exhausted, frustrated, tired of scraping his wounds which were getting worse. He was emotionally spent. He was raw. It was here that God meets him. I started sobbing. This is me. So what does God do with Job? I read and re-read the passages. I don’t see a call to repentance. Do I see repentance? Yes, and Job 42:6 states it beautifully for us. But, what about the words that came tumbling out of Job’s mouth as he talked with his friends? What about his attitude? It was here that I, myself, became very sensitive to God because this is where I am. I see God is holding Job closely to His heart and he just lets Job cry it all out. He doesn’t reprimand Job in this time of deep, deep sorrow. He lets him be raw with his emotions.
God holds him so close so he won’t hurt himself or others. I can picture God cradling Job in His loving arms and allowing Job time to grieve. To mourn. To just be. Raw. And then God revealed Himself in a very real way to me. A loving Father would not scold a child as he or she cries it out. No, he lets the child have the time to feel the emotions. The pain. He extends grace. That thought and word literally just came to me as I write this. God extended GRACE to Job. As a loving heavenly Father, He wrapped Job in grace as Job grappled with his very real and raw emotions. Job had just gone 35 rounds (chapters really) with his so-called friends. He was a wreck physically, his wife had basically left him alone and now he’s naked before his Maker. Vulnerable is the word that comes to mind. God does not kick Job while he is down. He does not yell out of the storm “REPENT!!!” I think Job comes to full repentance because he realizes how holy and righteous Yahweh is and he is just a wretched sinner. He acknowledges that he is dust. Naked before the Creator of the universe. Raw before his Redeemer.
I found myself in this same place. Am I called to repentance because of my emotions before God? Am I to hold back what I truly feel from God? Am I allowed to say what I feel in my heart to my heavenly Father? I had to grapple with that this morning. And I was a wreck. As I was sobbing, my daughter Abbey very lovingly reminded me about Jonah. Because she and I have memorized this book we say it out loud all the time to keep it in our minds. We can't compare Jonah to Job as with apples to apples. Job's afflictions were not caused by sin, Jonah's troubles were. God made life very interesting for Jonah. But He did not call out of the storm, “REPENT!!” Jonah came to the conclusion on his own. He was a wretched, wretched sinner. I came to the same conclusion. I am nothing before God. NOTHING. It was here that I have felt the most loved by my very dear, precious heavenly Father that I have ever felt. It was as if I got it....