It's My Party, and I'll Cry If I Want To

In yesterday's post, we discussed Job's terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day and his unusual reaction to a situation that would have driven most of us to insanity.  The good news is that Job remained faithful, despite his hardships.  The bad news is that his good attitude didn't last long.  In fact, after seven days with his "friends" (and I use that word very loosely), Job's proper perspective took a drastic turn.  Take a look:

After this opened Job his mouth, and cursed his day. - Job 3:1

Why died I not from the womb? why did I not give up the ghost when I came out of the belly? - Job 3:11

Oh that I might have my request; and that God would grant me the thing that I long for!  Even that it would please God to destroy me; that he would let loose his hand, and cut me off! - Job 6:8-9

O remember that my life is wind: mine eye shall no more see good. - Job 7:7

Therefore I will not refrain my mouth; I will speak in the anguish of my spirit; I will complain in the bitterness of my soul. - Job 7:11

This is the same guy who was worshiping just a few days ago?  It certainly doesn't sound like it.  This sounds like a man that has given up.  He's given up hope.  He's given up on life.  He just wants to die and be done with it, and honestly, I can't blame him.  I'm pretty sure his situation would have me crying for relief or release.  However, one his friends has a few words for him, and despite how harsh they sound, he has a point.

Behold, thou hast instructed many, and thou hast strengthened the weak hands. Thy words have upholden him that was falling, and thou hast strengthened the feeble knees. But now it is come upon thee, and thou faintest; it toucheth thee, and thou art troubled. Is not this thy fear, thy confidence, thy hope, and the uprightness of thy ways? - Job 4:3-6

Could I put that in today's language?  "Job, you've done so much for others.  You've taught others about the grace and goodness of God.  You've strengthened those who had no hope.  You were an encouragement to those who were ready to quit.  You upheld those who were about to fall.  But now that it's your turn to suffer, it's like you've forgotten everything.  Where's that confidence and hope that you had when counseling others through their trials?  Do you believe what you've said to others or not?  Why aren't you practicing what you preach?"

Does that passage hit anyone else right between the eyes, or is it just me?  One of my spiritual gifts is that of encouragement.  That's why I post these devotions and write books and speak at ladies' meetings.  That is the purpose behind my sharing encouraging comments and Scripture verses on Facebook posts.  When someone is struggling, I feel like it is my responsibility to point them back to the Light at the end of the tunnel.

But when it's my turn to suffer, oh dear!  Where are all those encouraging Scriptures?  Where are the precious promises that I quoted to others?  Where is the hope?  In short, I fail to practice what I preach.  I'm quick to counsel others in how to deal with their problems, but for the life of me, I can't seem to handle my own.  And the reason for this?  Well, it's the same reason that Job lost his perspective.

Is not my help in me? and is wisdom driven quite from me? - Job 6:13

Is not my help in me?  Well, no, it's not.  At least, it shouldn't be.  According to Psalm 121, "my help cometh from the Lord."  Perhaps Job was like me.  He was quick to counsel others on how to deal with their problems, but when it came to his own problems, he depended on his own counsel as well.  Unfortunately, our own counsel, when we're in the midst of personal struggles, is generally not sound counsel.  I think Job was trying to "fix" his problem, and when it didn't work, he was ready to give up.  Sound familiar?

I wish I could tell you that hard times won't find you, but that would be a lie.  Trials will come.  I would love to tell you that you'll always have the right attitude no matter the situation, but that's probably not true either.  But there is one thing I can tell you without a doubt.  Our help does come from the Lord.  He is not only willing but also able to deliver us out or through any circumstances we may face.  He will be our Counselor.  He will be our Guide.  He will be our Strength. 

Don't quit, my friend.  Keep hanging on.  God has a purpose for this pain.  If you must cry, cry out to Him.  He's listening, and He cares.