Embers ~ The Dark Side of Holiness

When tragedy strikes, you are left standing speechless, shaking, with no bearings in the rubble. But after the initial dust begins to settle, the wave of sorrow and mental anguish floods in like a Tsunami, words are swept out to sea. Pain so raw, darkness so deep, that to utter anything would be futile.

And so sat Job with his three friends: Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar

Can you imagine the sound of the weeping? Followed by the days of ticking silence? Maybe you can, and the memory of those sounds haunt you.

“When they saw him from a distance, they could hardly recognize him; they began to weep aloud, and they tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads. Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights. No one said a word to him, because they saw how great his suffering was.” Job 2:12-13

It only takes reading the first few words of Chapter 3 to hear the agony in Job’s voice. He is hurting in every sense of the word and this chapter is his outcry.

For the record though- when the word “cursed” appears in verse 1, it is a different Hebrew root word than that word used just 5 verses above. Job’s wife said “kneel to the circumstances” and die with the Hebrew word ‘Barek’ (Job 2:9). When Job breaks the silence with his friends, he says “qalal” which means, “despise”. In Job 3:1 Job despised the day of his birth….

He was grieving the loss of his children, servants, herds and home. He was writhing in intense pain and his soul cried out from the torment. He wanted relief, relief in the form of death. But he was not about to kill himself, nor was he going to denounce the sovereign Lord… he just ached for freedom from the pain. Who wouldn’t?

The trauma of the events had subsided and the wrestle of the aftermath had begun. Job did not sin by expressing his pain, He didn’t blame God for his suffering. He cried out for solace.

So often we think godliness looks like happiness and we shun ourselves, or others, when we are deeply and inelegantly grieving. When joy is hidden and gratitude goes silent we assume holiness is gone. Maybe it’s the darkness that also gives place for Glory to come?

Have you ever stopped to ponder that Jesus died and was buried in the tomb just before Sabbath and for three days there’s no discussion about what the disciples did, what Jesus’ spirit did, what God did? The skies had gone dark, the earth had quaked and all seemed lost. Joy and gratitude were silent.

It was Sabbath. The people worshiped during this holy day, a place and time set aside to honor God. It was also a day full of grieving. Grieving and worship, together. The pressing of pain to reveal glory.

Just because the ache of your heart is all consuming, the pain of life penetrating deep into your soul, doesn’t mean that God’s presence has abandoned you. God cannot dwell with sin, but He is not repulsed by pain.

“Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you.”  Deuteronomy 31:8

This post is part of a series, Embers. Here we are walking through the book of Job. All scriptures are quoted from the NIV or the NLT, links to BibleGateway.com.

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