I Don’t Have to Justify My Grief

Glynnis Whitwer

Day: 6 | Plan: Suffering and Sovereignty

Today’s Reading: Job 6

Job 6:2-3 (NIV) “If only my anguish could be weighed and all my misery be placed on the scales! It would surely outweigh the sand of the seas—no wonder my words have been impetuous.”

In times of grief, the last thing we expect to hear is correction. When hope dims and worry grows, we are in the weakest emotional position to handle criticism. And yet that’s exactly when some people feel compelled to voice their opinions. Like Job’s friends. 

Job 5 ends with Eliphaz basically telling Job that he’s the reason for his own suffering, and to be thankful for it. Eliphaz counsels: “Blessed is the one whom God corrects; so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty” (Job 5:17).

How easy Eliphaz makes it all sound. To him, the problem and solution are simple: Job sinned, God punishes, Job should confess and God will restore what Job lost. Eliphaz’s response shows he has no idea the depth of Job’s grief, nor what it will take for Job to heal. Neither does he know what is happening in the heavenly realm, and yet he's confident his opinion is fact.

Because of that insensitivity, Job 6 opens with a grieving Job on the rebound. Not only does he have to manage his broken heart, but now he feels the need to defend himself to his “comforting” friend.

Job attempts to convey the depth of his grief to one who seems to have underestimated it: “If only my anguish could be weighed and all my misery be placed on the scales! It would surely outweigh the sand of the seas — no wonder my words have been impetuous” (Job 6:2-3).

Job calls his own words “impetuous,” and for this chapter and the next, we'll see Job ricochet from one belief to the next, revealing the tumult of his heart. He bounces from believing God is shooting him with poison arrows, to wishing God would take his life, to begging for his friends to confirm his innocence.

Eliphaz’s comments have shaken Job deeply. Previously, Job was rock-solid in the faith department, hence God’s comments to Satan in Job 1: “There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil” (Job 1:8b) 

But the combination of grief and bad advice has almost undone him. In the coming chapters, we’ll see Job swing like a pendulum, and who can blame him.

Like most of us, Job was unprepared for what happened to him. Who can ever prepare for that kind of tragedy? Consequently, Job’s emotions are battered. And yet, we will see that Job eventually settles on the truth of God in his response. 

The truth that settled Job was not discovered in the dark. Instead, Job was sustained through the dark, by the truth he learned in the light.

We can learn from Job and apply this to our own lives. There is no way we can fully prepare our hearts for what is to come, but we can ground them in the truth before trouble arrives. We can soak our minds in the truth of God’s character, His promises throughout Scripture and remember our testimonies of His faithfulness. 

Then we will be like the wise man who built his house on a rock. (Matthew 7:24-27) The rain will fall, the floods will come, the winds will blow and beat on our house, but we won’t fall. We will stand strong on the rock of God’s Word and the truth of His character.

When the hard times come (and they will), we can hold tight to what we know to be true, and no circumstance or wrongly spoken word will shake us for long. We may stumble, but like Job, we will get up.

Prayer: Lord, You alone know the secret places in my heart, and the depth of the suffering I experience. As I struggle through this life, help me always remember to turn to You first. Help me build my life on the rock of Your Word and truth of Your character so that when hard times come, my faith will stand. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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