Read Job 6
6 Then Job replied:
2 “If only my anguish could be weighed
and all my misery be placed on the scales!
3 It would surely outweigh the sand of the seas—
no wonder my words have been impetuous.
4 The arrows of the Almighty are in me,
my spirit drinks in their poison;
God’s terrors are marshaled against me.
5 Does a wild donkey bray when it has grass,
or an ox bellow when it has fodder?
6 Is tasteless food eaten without salt,
or is there flavor in the sap of the mallow?
7 I refuse to touch it;
such food makes me ill.
8 “Oh, that I might have my request,
that God would grant what I hope for,
9 that God would be willing to crush me,
to let loose his hand and cut off my life!
10 Then I would still have this consolation—
my joy in unrelenting pain—
that I had not denied the words of the Holy One.
11 “What strength do I have, that I should still hope?
What prospects, that I should be patient?
12 Do I have the strength of stone?
Is my flesh bronze?
13 Do I have any power to help myself,
now that success has been driven from me?
14 “Anyone who withholds kindness from a friend
forsakes the fear of the Almighty.
15 But my brothers are as undependable as intermittent streams,
as the streams that overflow
16 when darkened by thawing ice
and swollen with melting snow,
17 but that stop flowing in the dry season,
and in the heat vanish from their channels.
18 Caravans turn aside from their routes;
they go off into the wasteland and perish.
19 The caravans of Tema look for water,
the traveling merchants of Sheba look in hope.
20 They are distressed, because they had been confident;
they arrive there, only to be disappointed.
21 Now you too have proved to be of no help;
you see something dreadful and are afraid.
22 Have I ever said, ‘Give something on my behalf,
pay a ransom for me from your wealth,
23 deliver me from the hand of the enemy,
rescue me from the clutches of the ruthless’?
24 “Teach me, and I will be quiet;
show me where I have been wrong.
25 How painful are honest words!
But what do your arguments prove?
26 Do you mean to correct what I say,
and treat my desperate words as wind?
27 You would even cast lots for the fatherless
and barter away your friend.
28 “But now be so kind as to look at me.
Would I lie to your face?
29 Relent, do not be unjust;
reconsider, for my integrity is at stake.
30 Is there any wickedness on my lips?
Can my mouth not discern malice?
In Job 6, Job’s agony spills out of his mouth, unedited and raw. It spills out in response to the calamities he faced, and the pain made worse by the rebuke of his friend Eliphaz.
Earlier, Eliphaz had criticized Job for being impatient (4:5). He reminded Job that the righteous prosper and the unrighteous don’t (4:7-8). Then, he put out some oversimplified advice that Job should seek God, commit his cause to God, and then he’ll get delivered from his troubles (5:8-27). Eliphaz’s words understandably upset Job even more, and Job expressed his disappointment with his friends (6:15-21) and questioned what exactly Eliphaz’s rebuke was rebuking (6:25).
If you’re in a valley today, hear the cry of Job’s heart and how the weight he feels is ”heavier than the sand of the sea” (6:3). Job feels he has no strength left to hope anymore and nothing good to be patient for (v. 11). He feels utter hopelessness, and yet God is still in his story.
If you feel like that, you can say it—to God and to others. We don’t have to pretend all is OK to be a real Christian. And you can remember that God is still in your story. You may still be on chapter 6. He’s knitting all this together (Romans 8:28), even if you hit an all time low. And if you feel like you’ve worn out the ears of your friends, remember that you can call to God in your moaning in the evening and morning and noon, and he hears your voice (Psalm 55:17). And one day, he will wipe every tear from your eyes, and whatever is paining you today will pass away with the old order of things (Revelation 21:4). When the end isn’t in sight and you don’t know where this is all going, there is still hope when you don’t feel even a little hope anymore.
- Psalm 62:8 says “Pour out your heart” to God. Get raw and real. What do you need to pour out to God today?
- Are you naturally an empathetic person?
- Consider your own responses to loved ones going through the valley. Sometimes it’s more difficult to be sensitive to the ones closest to us—people we expect the most from, people we are counting on, or people our hearts hurt the most with. Is our critiquing, rebuking, or preaching necessary and helpful? Do we assume that they are not seeking God, or did something wrong, or that if they would just seek God more, that the pain would go away?
Here is a podcast where a husband asks for advice on how to care for his depressed wife. Though the answer is specific to that situation, its principles regarding patience, faithfulness and hope are nonetheless profound and applicable to all of us walking with a friend through the valleys of life.
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