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Job’s Last Straw

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I’ve always had a special affinity for Job. Here’s a regular guy, a family guy, successful businessman, living somewhere in the Far East of the Bible who gets slammed out of nowhere for no other reason than that he’s a good person.

I like reading about his thoughts. His reactions to his false comforters. His new understanding of his place in the world and God’s care for him. And the truth is, all of us feel like Job at one time or another. I know I have. And sometimes still do.

But while most focus on the trials and tribulations they have in common with Job, I had the unique experience of sharing his sense of abuse and abandonment by his 3 so-called comforters, the leaders of his religious circle.

About 2 weeks after my husband passed away, I too received a visit much like Job’s. Under the guise of offering assistance, I was grilled as to why I wasn’t doing more in the congregation, chastised for thinking too much about myself, warned against fornication (I don’t know what kind of person is dating 2 weeks after a funeral), told that it was wrong for me to ever expect a call or a visit from anyone, and that the consequences of my husband’s actions were my and my children’s inheritance. Forever.

It is an understatement to say that I was devastated. I felt abandoned all over again, but this time by my faith. I’d be lying if I said I was over it.

I prefer not to talk religion. We all have our spiritual debates within. But once in a while you experience an epiphany – a new realization that must have been there all the time, but you never noticed it.

I got this in June of 2016 when a minister noted the reason God was so angry with Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar for their misguided words to Job. They lied. They lied about how God felt towards Job. They lied about how other people viewed Job. They made him feel more alone and bereft than he already was.

Therese Borford of Beyond Blue says, “The phrase ‘Job’s comforters’ has come into the language to describe people who mean to help, but who are more concerned with their own needs or feelings than they are with those of the other person, and so end up only making things worse.”

It’s a term that even made it into the dictionary, defining a ‘Job’s comforter’ “as a person who aggravates distress under the guise of giving comfort.”
You have to be pretty vile to make an impression that lasts 4,000 years.
I don’t know if Job made up with those guys, if they all got together on Saturday nights and played cards with his new kids. But I doubt it. I have a feeling that they walked around each other after that. Once a man (or 2 or 3) has revealed his true self, it can’t be undone.
And now that I recognize the lies and the liars, I can put the pieces back in their proper places, albeit with more caution and less trust than I had before. But that’s something I already know a little bit about. I was already doing it with the rest of my life when they came along.
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One thought on “Job’s Last Straw

  1. Fine commentary on Job. Interesting, though, that Elihu didn’t have to make a sacrifice as Job’s other friends did. It’s a great book full of wisdom and also ending with Job going to the end of himself, seeing God IS the God of life and death and power and receiving God’s restoration. Yes, wonderful commentary, Karen. 🙂

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