The Biblical text of Job has always been my favorite book. Thus, it is a natural choice to begin this commitment with Job, his wife and family and his three friends. I begin this not knowing if I can or will follow it through its completion. However, I do hope that you will join me for this leg of my journey.
God, the sons of God and Satan decide to test Job, purportedly the most devoted and righteous man on Earth with devastation to see if he will renounce God and his spirituality. Job, although troubled, maintains his faith, as Joe Cocker would say, with a little help from his friends.
I feel akin to the tale. I have not be struck down with an ulcer from head to toe, but I have been inflicted with an enigmatic genetic-based neuro-muscular disorder that causes issues so severe that medication that will stop me from breathing is not effective enough to relax the muscles when things decide they want to go. I feel I can see into Job’s mind. The disdain he has for himself, however, never cursing God for his affliction. I, not once, blamed God for the calamity that has befallen us. The only reason I can logically think of for this behavior is that I cannot afford to lose my love of God, Christ and the Scriptures. In the darkness, that is all you have that shines a light.
When I was near death in the CCU, my spiritually gave me warmth. I don’t want to be that bad again. However, knowing that my faith will protect me, just knowing, gives me comfort.
Job 2:10: But he replied, “You’re talking like one of the godless women would do! Should we receive what is good from God, and not also receive what is evil?” In all this Job did not sin by what he said.
We have to take the good with the bad. That is all there is. I refrain from the argument of “Why bad things happen to good people?” We all sin. We are all worthy of punishment. Disease and strife are parts of life. They are not good. But, they exist. I believe they exist so that we can shine who we really are. I remember when I was a kid, learning the concept of “fair-weather friends.” People that befriend you when things are going good. When difficulties raise their head…zoom, they are gone. I’m not that way with my spirituality. I think if anyone is, then, they really aren’t spiritual.
Now, to be honest. I curse. If you are around me when things get going, you will hear me curse a lot. I may even say “God damned it.” I am not cursing God. I am asking God to damn this disease. To banish it. To rid, not only me, but others like me, from this crazy unknown. I refuse to believe that I am an anomaly. There are others out there that just don’t have a voice.
Job gets his strength, when he is week, from his friends. I am finding out that I have friends that are insanely dedicated to making me survive. Their faces are many fold. Some are male, female and indeterminate. The really bizarre thing is that some that are really forward in supporting my spirituality are agnostic, at best. Many are Episcopal, as would be logical. However, I have Wiccan, Muslim, atheist and non-practicing friends in all walks of life. I love them all. I believe they love me, too. They are there in the dark times, sending me jokes. Keeping my fire burning in the night. – Literally, in the night. They should be sleeping, but they stay up, chatting with me so that I can make it to the next minute when my meds will kick in. These people are magnificent. Job was cheated. He only had three friends to keep him focused. I feel like I have legion. From them, I derive my strength. They will not let me falter in my faith in Christ.
One of the big things they do, relates to the following verses:
Job 4:3: Look, you have instructed many; you have strengthened feeble hands.
Job 4:4: Your words have supported those who stumbled, and you have strengthened the knees that gave way.
Job 4:5: But now the same thing comes to you, and you are discouraged; it strikes you, and you are terrified.
They remind me of things I have done. How I have helped thousands of others. And I should be ashamed of myself for doubting and being terrified of the future. In the dark times, you doubt your own sanity. I sometimes feel like the last couple years are just a bad dream and I am waiting to awaken from it. To say I am not terrified of the next minute would be a lie. I am horribly discouraged and frustrated. I was a member of something bigger than myself and now, I am myself. I question if I am strong enough to survive the curse that is this disease.
With help from my friends, and God, I will.
Job 5:8: “But as for me, I would seek God, and to God I would set forth my case.
I pray that He will be with me in my times of trouble. I understand that it will be God’s will that will guide me out of the darkness. I will continue to seek Him, until the end of days.
Job 6:14: “To the one in despair, kindness should come from his friend even if he forsakes the fear of the Almighty.
Job 6:29: Relent, let there be no falsehood; reconsider, for my righteousness is intact!
My friends love reminds me there is a God and I thank the Lord that they exist, even in my times of trouble. For it is then, that they are truly servants, and facilitators of faith.
It is through the kindness of all, that my righteousness remains.
Jay C. “Jazzy_J” Theriot