Job’s friend, Eliphaz, was one of 4 friends that came to visit Job in his time of trouble. While, ultimately, they misspoke of God, at other times they spoke truth of God and Job. Eliphaz told Job that he was a teacher of God and a faithful believer. Wouldn’t we all want people to say these things of us? Yet, then he lectures Job about Job lamenting his situation. This exact pattern is something we have all experienced, and probably even followed.
There has been a tendency to lecture people who are in emotional, spiritual, and/or physical pain that they need to be more joyful, more trusting, more faithful. When we look at all the woeful, lamenting words of Job, including even his questioning of God (and where God was in all of his troubles), Job did not sin. It is not to say that Job never sinned, but in the words that we have from him, he did not sin. There is something important here. It is okay to mourn, grieve, lament.
Part of Lent is the aura of mourning, grieving, and lamenting. The overarching theme of Lent is that we know what is coming, Good Friday. The reason for Good Friday is worth mourning, grieving, and lamenting. The reason is sin. Sin was so deep and so pervasive only God breaking in could fix it. On the cross, the Son of God died.
Under it all, it wasn’t that Job stopped trusting God, it was that he was hurting. Despite the anguish of Lent, underlying it there still remains truth and joy.
“…God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ…”
We must disregard the mourning, grieving, and lamenting of Lent, for when we do, we undermine the truth of Good Friday.
1) Do you find it difficult to be joyful while grieving, mourning, or while in pain?
2) At what point, do you think, our lamenting (grieving, mourning or pain) turns into something that dishonors God?