I studied the book of Job last year with some people from church. Wow.
What stunned me more than Job’s great suffering (which I already knew about) and his insensitive friends (I knew about them too) was his sheer nerve at speaking honestly about his pain.
“I cannot eat for sighing;
my groans pour out like water.
What I always feared has happened to me.
What I dreaded has come true.
I have no peace, no quietness.
I have no rest; only trouble comes.”
– Job 3:24-25
Job even rails at God in a way I’d never dare to do! Yet God doesn’t reprimand him for groaning in prayer. I found this so challenging that I wrote a brief devotional series about it, which plots my journey towards learning to groan. Here’s the intro:
We all have knee-jerk reactions to suffering. My knee-jerk reaction? I tend to go numb. I find it really hard to pray. After a while, a niggling sense of shame at the poor state of my prayer life may creep in. I think to myself, I should be worshiping God and being positive despite my circumstances! Why can’t I get rid of this horrible numbness inside?!
And the chasm that lies between my true feelings and my intellectual faith swallows me up. It makes me feel distant from God.
How about you? How do you react when you are completely overwhelmed by life’s brokenness? I’m not talking about what you think you should do. I’m talking about what you actually do.
Do you try your best not to complain (with varying degrees of success!)? Do you shut down your feelings, as a coping mechanism? Do you try using positive thinking strategies to overcome your pain, but you end up feeling even worse because it doesn’t seem to be working? Do you feel distant from God, like I do?
In the “Groaning – How to Take Your Grief to Jesus” series, I’ve got some embarrassing stories and a favourite Bible passage to share. Plus, there are some free resources at the end, designed to help you throw your burdens onto Jesus.