25 November 2013

Mrs Job: This Gaping Chasm in my Soul

Job 1-2

Then his wife said to him, 'Do you still persist in your integrity? Curse God, and die.' (Job 2:9)

Curse God
and die!
What's the point
in going on?
He's taken all away.
What's the point
in holding on
when this is what you get
for all your faith,
for all your righteousness -
if even godlessness fares better,
why hold on to faith?
Why live
when He's cursed us already,
turned life into hell,
no longer worth living?

I cannot understand.
Is this what you call love?
Is this how you reward
faithfulness and righteousness?
Is this what we deserve?

What am I to do
with this gaping chasm in my soul,
hurling accusations
up to heaven,
rattling at your throne,
because I can't take it,
can't understand,
cannot believe

Who listens to my story?
Who gently heals my wounds?
Who lets me cry, and comforts me?
Who lets me curse and swear
as much as I need to
to get the poison out?
if not you?

Oh God,
the God who's wounding me,
the God who heals my wounds -
I do not understand you,
sometimes can't even like you,
and yet
you are still God
and I still need you
even when I hate you.

I can't forgive
what you have done -
so teach me to forgive.
I cannot love
the one who let this happen -
so teach me how to love you.
I cannot trust
the hand that let me fall -
so teach me how to trust again.
I can't believe
in a God of love
who allows this pain -
so teach me,
God of love,
to believe in you again.

When I can't do it on my own,
drowning in my darkness
of fury and despair,
Lord, save me from myself,
and make me yours again.


[22. November 2013]

Job's wife only shows up once, for one little sentence (that seems to be hard to translate because some translations have a footnote saying the Hebrew actually is "bless God" - which I think would change how people view Mrs Job, quite a bit). I suspect she's generally received rather negatively because of her drastic comment. Though maybe we need to remember that Mrs Job was suffering just as much as Job was, had lost everything too, all her children, and now had a sick man on her hands (at least Job could sit around and mourn and fight with his friends over the cause of his suffering; Mrs Job, being a woman, probably still had responsibilities in the house and towards her husband and less time to think and dwell on what had happened!).

I suspect what most of us know best is the first two chapters of the book of Job. Try reading all of it; Job doesn't sound any more pleasant than this poem a few chapters on and gets pretty negative about God too!! It's not an easy book to read. This poem reflects a bit of what comes in some of the later chapters (esp. 3-8).

I hope it's not too "negative". ^^; But if you think one can't speak about or to God like this, I suggest you read Job first - because now that I've read chapters 9-10, I think this poem is pretty tame.

One sentence I need to explain: "I still need you / even when I hate you."
Yes, I almost changed that, not only because I expect it will bother some people, but also because I had some theological doubts about it (Does God help people who hate Him? Isn't hating Him the worst thing we can do? Doesn't precisely that cut us off from salvation? I'm sure there's even Bible verses for that...). Maybe we need to think more about what "hate" means, though. In this case I see it as an emotion that is there and that Mrs Job wants to get rid of and actually needs God's help to take away.

I tend to try and bring out something "good" or at least something one can learn from, when I write these poems. Sometimes it can clash with what I imagine the woman I'm writing about would have thought and felt. I tend to edge towards the provocative (yes, it's on purpose) - when writing about these women's feelings I sometimes can't not write things that sound provocative. :P I try something between being honest to what I imagine these women's feelings to be, and being careful not to step on anyone's feet. But rather than cutting out "I hate you", I felt I'd leave it in, because I think it belongs there and I think there needs to be hope for people who really have trouble in their relationship with God when they don't understand Him anymore.

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