This has sort of been one of those seasons.
Been thinking about Job a lot-- the plight of all believers who go through any kind of pain, I'm sure. Of course, we all must preface conversations in which we ever-so-humbly compare ourselves to Job with, "I know that what I'm going through is nothing like what Job went through, but...." And it's just true-- I didn't start off with the same amount of stuff at stake: no riches, no children, no servants, etc. But most believers would agree that God put Job's story down for a reason: to teach us, to show us something about His character, to illustrate something about relationship with him.
At first glance, I must admit that it's not the greatest personal campaign, Lord.
I mean, let's think about this: Job was a man who was fantastically upright. He was doing his best to walk justly before His God. We know because God says so right there in His word.
1There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job; and that man was blameless, upright, fearing God and turning away from evil.
We understand that the Bible isn't saying that Job never sinned-- it's saying that he was not sunk in sin, not walking in the habit of sin, feared (respected) God and pursued doing what was right (by turning away from evil). I mean, the discussion makes me think of Mary-- she wasn't perfect, but she was exceptional.
So Job is a man who loves God. And God chose to give us the book of Job so that we would see some things about Him that He wanted us to see and, if not understand completely, recognize as HIM. Job was a good man and God chose to allow his world to be torn apart.
Already, I'm in way over my head.
Alright, so I'm driving down the road on Saturday morning, thinking of the latest thing that has come to the surface during this season of losing my baby boy: fear. O Fear, how I hate thee. How I tend to draw you to me, though, and pet you and coddle you and feed you and invite you to stay awhile and torment me-- this has to go, go, go.
So I'm driving down the road and I'm thinking, alright, if God gave us Job, what can I glean from this? So the first thing I do is attempt to compare, and I kind of have to do a little happy dance-- one thing to understand about me is that I really like when things a) happen in threes, b) follow a pattern, and c) make me laugh, even if it's only eventually. I used to love semi-colons until I had to start teaching on them in grammar and now I hate them. Periods are much easier to use.
So I started thinking: Okay, Job lost his children (I lost Ben). Job was afflicted with boils (I have a wound that is almost healed, but was really giving me a hard time for about 3-4 weeks, and being attached to Wanda is getting on my nerves-- does that count as physical torment? Probably not). But I had to stop there-- I don't have a partner who is telling me to "curse God and die" and I have no material riches to lose.
Still, I kind of got excited.
Because you know, one of the things I am longing for in all of this is for something to make sense. I spent time on the phone with two dear friends of mine today-- Sarah and Kristen-and one of the things that came up in both conversations was the desire to understand and the reality of probably never understanding why God chose to allow this to happen.
So what if we just sort of scratch that need and look at the present reality? What does God want to do as a result of this horrific thing? What if He wants to take us to a place in Him we've never been before? What if He's asking us to love Him in the face of so much pain and hurt?
To tell Him, okay, I trusted You with my baby and You took him. I'm still going to trust You with my husband. My parents. My brothers and sisters. My nieces. My friends. My own life. I'm still going to trust You.
Because I want to know You.
So I'm looking and thinking, okay, there's a little pattern going here-- children, physical ailments, and .... nothing. And just then, guess what happened.
My car broke down.
Normally, this wouldn't be that big of a deal-- I'm one of those people who has always had crappy cars until the last year and a half. So I'm used to breaking down. But right now? My tolerance for this kind of thing is low right now. My husband has just left for several days in the wilderness. He's gone. I am already struggling with fear like a mad woman. It's HOT outside and I'm attached to a machine and am physically uncomfortable. I'm sad and scared and exhausted. And now my stupid car breaks down?
I call my dad: "My son has died, my house is a mess, my husband is camping, my car just broke down and I alone have escaped to tell you" (just kidding-- a little Job humor).
Now, I would be lying if I continued to write about how awful it all was and how terrible things got. I would really, really be lying. But I did have a bit of a meltdown with God before He sent in the reinforcements.
I put my head on the steering wheel and said, "GOD?? Do you even LIKE me?? What are you doing??? Can't I just have a break? Just a little break? Where are you? Have you forgotten me?" (I seem to remember praying the same prayer when stricken with that demon constipation right after the hospital...)
Melodrama, thy name is Samantha.
He didn't say anything. Because of course He loves me. What He did was provide me with the sweetest, most helpful tow truck guy around; a great friend who cheerfully abandoned her breakfast at a restaurant to come and pick me up (thank you, dear Melissa); parents who are always able to talk me back into the land of reason; and a dear friend who loaned me her car while she was on vacation.
God came to my rescue again, as always. Because He is good and kind and holy and perfect in His wisdom.
I just don't understand what He was doing on April 28. Maybe I never will. And maybe that doesn't matter so much. I just wish He hadn't allowed it. I just wish that tonight we could all go to sleep and wake up on April 28 and get a giant do-over. Those of you who do not need do-overs could just get a really, really restful sleep and the rest of us could get that day back and then wake up and it's today and everything is right again.
I'm no Job-- I'm just one of many, many women who have lost their babies and who are struggling to work through the nonsensical pain of it. But I'm happy to study him and to do my best to adjust my response to God in the face of adversity-- there is a reason God wanted us to see and study Job. Because I know that "God can handle your anger" is a true statement (He's God. He can handle anything), but I want to know where the line is. I want to steer clear of the attitudes taken by Job's friends. I want to be respectful toward Him. I'm hurt with Him, but how much of a right does that give me to rail against Him? Just because He understands my anger, that doesn't make it okay. I'm not saying that it's healthy or good or Christlike to push down my grief...but where does pointing our rage God-ward become too much? I do not ever want to cross that line-- He'll forgive me if I do, I know, but how much better to try to walk humbly with my God in the face of adversity?
I want to know Him, to understand Him, and to walk with Him. That means dying to myself, right?
Oh, I want to get to the bottom of this thing.
*Cisilia pointed out what I forgot to say and what I was going for in the first place!: the car breaking down was the third thing, completing the pattern of threes! :)