Suffering. What does that word mean to you? Are you suffering right now? Have you suffered over the course of your life? I am reading through Job in my Bible study right now. The thoughts that are flying through my head right now! They must be expressed. I am hoping to make sense of them through this post. Please be patient if the thoughts are a little jumbled.
One of the most recent times of suffering my family has endured was the loss of a nephew. He was 4 months old and Ralph and I were on our honeymoon when it happened. That was suffering. My sis and BIL will forever be marked by this. In fact, in a positive way, I believe, it has changed/helped direct the path of their life.
Another suffering my family has gone through, was to walk with my dad's sister and family as her son slowly died of a "birth defect" from the age of 4 til about 9 (I think he was almost 10). That was a long hard road—as a teenager and college student I learned how to PRAY in ways I never would have. We then rejoiced with the family as they rescued two sibling groups from the foster system and brought them into our family. What amazing and beautiful people all of these "new" cousins are! Then we walked with them as my aunt's then husband walked away from the whole family and the Lord. This family has suffered. The loss of a son and brother was tough. The other kids have their individual burdens from the broken family units they came from. They were then brought into a "whole" family and introduced to the Lord and then it all fell apart. My aunt lost her husband of 19 years and was left with 7 kids. All the kids lost a father (he is not active in their lives currently). I would say in many ways they continue to suffer as they also strive to heal and live.
My husband's sister died suddenly in a car accident 4 months before I met him. She left behind a daughter who got caught in a terrible custody battle (that went on for several years) and lost a large part of her childhood in the process. She is a beautiful girl who is now settled and happy with Ralph's bro and SIL, but she has endured much and will be marked by her experiences forever. The family has suffered much through all of this and in some ways always will.
These are just a few of the ways that I and those I love have suffered. Every time I read Job it changes for me. I see and hear new things. I understand Job's wife SO much better than when I was younger. I can just imagine if we lost everything and then you added a serious illness that Ralph was suffering with. I might be tempted to say "Let's just end it—curse God so that He can strike us down and end all of this!" I pray that I have learned from her and from my sister and aunt and Ralph's parents and mine through all of these (plus those I didn't mention) situations and that I would be more like David. I do, however, understand where her statement comes from. I understand Job and his friends in ways I never did before. I feel more able to evaluate Job's statements than I did BEFORE. BEFORE I felt as if, "Who am I? He was a very godly man who went through unspeakable things. He gets to say whatever he wants in my opinion!" NOW, I see the whining. I see him glorify God and then say "but I'm going to whine anyway." I see his friends (as least in the beginning) as less judgmental than I remembered but more pushy and blunt than I think they should have been. Grief and suffering addles one's brain and makes a person very sensitive. I think they should have used more tact and silence. Don't talk so much to someone who is hurting so much!
I am only through chapter 10. I will read 11-14 today. If I have more to add, I'll let you know. ;-)