Posted by: Mark | July 19, 2010

Lessons from Job III

This is a series and the first post is here.

Lessons from Job for when we go through trial

3. Not all people react the same way to suffering

His wife said to him, “Are you still holding on to your integrity? Curse God and die!” Job 2.9

One of the big things about getting married for me was realizing that in some things my wife was just strange. She didn’t think in a strictly logical fashion and many times came to strange conclusions and her desires and wants were somewhat different than mine. We of course know this was because Louise was wrong and I was right 🙂 When we joined our mission we had to go through several psychological tests and these gave us something that seems as important as a Bible to a missionary – your Myres Briggs letters. Louise was a ESFJ and I was a ESTP. The F and T (3rd letter) part of these lists of letters refer to thinkers and feelers. I am a thinker – an extreme thinker. Louise is a feeler – an extreme feeler. We are just different.

It is the same in suffering. People react in many different ways when they suffer. Some cry. Some become emotionally detached. Some go quiet. Some shout and scream. Some want to share their story with everyone. Some want to keep it to themselves. And the list goes on. In Job’s case, he relied and leaned on God. He clung to the God he knew was holy and just and said, “Naked I came into this world, and naked I will leave. Blessed be the name of the Lord”. However, Mrs Job reacted somewhat differently. We don’t really hear much from her so it may be unfair to make a judgement, but, the response we do read is just about as opposite as possible to Job’s. Curse God and die. It ain’t worth it. Just give up on this God you are clinging to.

We could of course go into the rightness of Job’s response and the wrongness of Mrs. Job’s response but that is not the point I want to highlight here. What I want to highlight is that suffering affects us all differently. Job and Mrs. Job went through the same losses and reacted oppositely towards God. They were different people and they reacted differently. There was not (and is not) a – this is the way you should do it.

There are of course healthy things to do and unhealthy things to do when we suffer and there are things from the Bible that we should all do in suffering. For example we should all rely on God as Job did and tell him our cares

Give all your worries and cares to God for he cares for you. 1 Peter 5.7

Outside of these common things we should learn who we are and ensure we suffer healthily by doing that which helps us. If we need to journal we should make sure we do. If we need to talk it through we should make sure we do. If we need to think it through we should make sure we make the time and do this. If we need to cry it out we should not try to be tough and we should let the tears flow. However, if we don’t need to journal we should not feel the pressure to do this. If we do not need to talk it through with everyone and their cousin we should not feel the need to do so – talking it through with God is not an option. If we don’t need to cry we don’t have to – I don’t. Learn how you process and process that way. Know yourself so that you can be as Job in your response as you can be when you suffer. Purposely plan your life so your emotions can be managed so your heart can say,

Though he slay me I will hope in Him Job 13.15a


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