S (Scripture): Job 30:16 “And now my soul is poured out within me; days of affliction have taken hold of me.
17 The night racks my bones, and the pain that gnaws me takes no rest.
18 With violence he seizes my garment; he grasps me by the collar of my tunic.
19 He has cast me into the mire, and I have become like dust and ashes.
20 I cry to you and you do not answer me; I stand, and you merely look at me.
21 You have turned cruel to me; with the might of your hand you persecute me.
22 You lift me up on the wind, you make me ride on it, and you toss me about in the roar of the storm.
23 I know that you will bring me to death,
and to the house appointed for all living.
24 “Surely one does not turn against the needy, when in disaster they cry for help.
25 Did I not weep for those whose day was hard?
Was not my soul grieved for the poor?
26 But when I looked for good, evil came;
and when I waited for light, darkness came.
O (Observation): Job has suffered many devastating losses: his livestock, his property, his children, his spouse: all killed or destroyed. He’s trying to make sense of all of this. He’s trying to make sense of why so many bad things are happening in his life. He cannot understand it.
Job is gathered with his friends around him. They try to convince him that he’s done something wrong…that he somehow deserves the punishment he’s getting. And by their line of thinking, only when we do something wrong are we punished. SOMETHING must have been done to bring on the suffering.
Yet we – the readers – know that the devil is playing games with Job. The devil wishes to convince God that even the most upright person can and will turn against God…if given the right “motivation.” God allows this experiment…and even though Job is angry with God, Job has not denounced his faith. Though Job is quite perturbed and confused.
A (Application): Cancer sucks. Alzheimer’s sucks. We live in a broken world. We get angry at God, doctors, science, ourselves…you name it, we’ve blamed it. At some point in our lives, we cry out in anger and frustration and want to point to something or someone and blame them for our problems, so that we can diagnose the issue, and correct or eliminate the problem!
Isolate it. Blame it. Get angry at it. Punch it. Hurt it. Fix it. Cure it. Heal it. We want to solve the issue.
Or, if we blame ourselves, we may hurt ourselves…or worse…
We cannot understand why things happen the way they do…for better or for worse.
But we also have a God who redeems. Even the worst circumstances – even though it may not make sense, ever – God can still redeem…if not in this life, then in the next. Don’t play the blame game. No one wins that game. Instead, let others in. Let them love you. Let them bring you hope.
If you are in a difficult situation (or someone you know is), please reach out to folks who are trained to help:
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline:
or, the Crisis Text Line: text TALK to 741-741.
P (Prayer): Lord, save us. Save us all. Amen.