With my hand grasping tightly to God's, I dove right in.
First of all, I love this different format. A prologue and an epilogue? I haven't read those words in what seems like ages. And the setting for these epic conversations between God and the Accuser, with all of the angels standing by- I get so, so excited at any mention of angels. And Leviathan (in Job 3:8), too.
What strikes me the hardest this time around, is not Job's reaction to his suffering, but the reaction of his friends. I've always focused on Job, his righteousness, his faith, his constitution. But this time, I'm learning so much from his friends.
The first seven days of his suffering and mourning, they sit silently with him, participating in his pain. And how heroic! How wonderful! This is the kind of friend I think we all long for.
But then they open their mouths.
And I am so convicted, because I know I've done the same thing. I've been convinced I knew the whole situation, and that I had all the answers. I think of the Christian I used to be, so cocky yet pretending to be humble. I knew just what to say in every situation, and I wasn't afraid to put my two cents in- and then some.
2007 was my year of suffering; but through it I experienced the greatest joy as well. I was trying to figure out how to live with vertigo, and seeing every specialist imaginable to find the cause of it. I met Eric, we made some questionable choices, and I got pregnant. My best friend and roommate kicked me out of our house, and our life-long friendship abruptly ended. I also lost my job, and my health insurance along with it. The church I'd grown up in turned its back on me, looking down their noses at me for not "making it right" and marrying Eric immediately, even though I didn't know him all that well yet. We decided to move in together, against the wishes of my church and my parents. Nothing was stable, nothing was solid; the only thing I held onto was that Jesus loves me, and that was enough.
It got better; life leveled out. A friend helped me get the life-saving job at Borders, I qualified for Medicaid and WIC, Eric turned out to be an absolute saint and my soul mate. While we did have some fights, my mom was always there for me. I found an amazing church, that welcomed me for who I am, not the choices I make. And Caleb, my sweet, amazing miracle, was born.
I learned a lot that year. (And continue to learn.) Empathy was the biggest lesson. Rather than looking down my nose at someone, I want to learn their story, who they are. I want everyone I come in contact with to know love, the love that Jesus has for me and everyone else.
I'm learning that it's okay to just sit in pain with a friend who's hurting, and keep my big mouth shut. Sometimes you just need someone to cry with, and that's okay. I don't need all the answers.
Painting above is "Duelo" by ReevolveR