Tuesday, March 20, 2012


I remember when I was pregnant with my last child and I couldn't keep any food down, I thought my suffering was more than I could endure; and I thought maybe I wouldn't live through this pregnancy."When dark clouds of trouble hang o'er us and threaten our peace to destroy. There is hope smiling brightly before us and we know that deliverance is nigh." Hope wasn't smiling before me or behind me or anywhere in sight. At times like this, we often think of Job. HE LOST ALL HIS BELONGINGS AND HIS CHILDREN IN A SINGLE AFTERNOON! Yet, he didn't lose hope, despite his wife telling him to curse God and die.
We read about Job and then we have Psalms and Proverbs and on the other side of Proverbs is Ecclesiastes. When I say on the other side of those books, I mean REALLY on the other side. Job, full of hope despite almost 40 pages of his so called friends calling him to repentance for his supposed sins, doesn't give up on life.
Ecclesiastes looks at the world darkly as if through the eyes of an unbeliever. If you have ever read Job and Ecclesiastes, you have experienced a lesson in frustration. Job's story can be told in three chapters at the beginning and one chapter at the end. All the middle is tortuous. Try reading through it sometime. Then imagine reading it when you have boils all over your body and you will still never know how Job felt. What a smart thing it was to have those chapters to plow through to remind us not to make our friends' suffering worse by offering unhelpful advise when someone is already thickly thrust into a trial.
The end of Job is so wonderful. He is given twice the blessings he had in the beginning. Exactly twice the livestock is restored and exactly the same amount of children are added to him when the dust settles. BUT, when the Lord gave him his second set of children, he WAS doubling the children he previously had because his first set of children are his for eternity through the covenant. So he ends up with twice the children, eternally.
To turn to the Ecclesiastic opposite or maybe not so opposite, we see 11 chapters of Eeyore like pessimism. It seems that the preacher has had his glass half full everlastingly too long. It is as hard to read through as most of Job only sooo much shorter, thank heavens. Finally, after we feel how depressing it is to look at life through the eyes of the hopeless unenlightened soul, we see that it was also just a lesson in the absurd. If life is even a little better by obeying the commandments, why wouldn't we do it. The last verses of Ecclesiastes teaches us how refreshing it is to think positively, just like we learn at the end of Job.
The little baby that came at the end of that pregnancy was so worth it and I didn't die. I didn't even come close. Even if my dad told me it was all in my head. I realized I did have some hope or I would have stopped eating and died. I hope I never have to suffer as Job or be as depressed as an unbeliever. Nevertheless, I know it is true as the psalmist says: "Joy cometh in the morning".