Seeing Calamity

Job is one of my favourite books in the Bible – when I actually take the time to read through it I always get pulled into the story. The conversation comes to life as Job and his friends talk and argue back and forth, and it’s always interesting to see what stands out to me each time, what I relate to most, whether Job’s desolation or his friends’ advice.

I have been failing at actually reading through the book of Job this time, but I made a good push to about chapter 11, and I keep coming back to Job 6:21b – “you see my calamity and are afraid.”

When Job’s friends first arrive to comfort him, they sit on the ground with him for seven days not saying anything until Job breaks the silence. However, once he does speak, they are quick to offer their analysis and give suggestions to get his life back on track. This verse resonates with me because it challenges something I know I struggle with: not being enough. When someone is hurting, when life is going hard, or when faith is wobbling, I want to swoop in and fix it; I want to make a plan to change their situation or boost their morale.

It takes guts to sit in the dirt with someone who has been knocked down by life, and it takes a particular strength and faith I think to stay close by even when that person gives vent to their despair. It is frightening to truly see someone’s calamity and then to stay silent in the face of it – what if they resent us for our shortcomings, for not having the right words or any words at all? What if we end up responsible for them giving up on God? Is that even possible? It can sure feel like it.

Of course, silence isn’t always the best response, but I think it would be good for me to practice it a little more, not to always offer the first thing that comes to mind to escape the discomfort of the gap between someone’s hurt and my fragile identity.

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Comments

Donna Baxter 30-11-2013, 03:08

Well said! I can appreciate your phrase “the discomfort gap between someone’s hurt and my fragile identity”. I too prefer to have everyone around me happy. God’s preference for me differs.

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alyssa 02-12-2013, 12:37

It’s definitely a challenge. I’m hoping practice makes perfect!

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