I’ve been thinking a lot about Job’s wife lately.
And no, I’m not talking about Steve Job. The Mrs. Job I’m referring to is the wife of the Biblical Job, a man of great integrity that enjoyed every earthly blessing – ten children, great success, and great wealth. But God allowed Satan to test him. As a result, his wealth was stolen and destroyed, and all of his children were killed in a windstorm. He then fell victim to an illness that caused boils to appear on his body from head to foot. He’d lost everything – his children, his livelihood, and his health. His spirit was broken.
But he still had his wife. It seems like the world in general expected this unnamed woman to be the support that he needed after so much tragedy. A cheerleader dressed in robes. After all, Job is the hero of the story, and truly was a good man. But while Job still longed for God in his suffering, his wife’s bitter words rang so loudly that they’re still heard today – “Curse God and die!”
This is the part of the sermon where the preacher will usually make a smug comment about annoying wives and living on the corner of a roof. And I’ve gotta say, that gets my dander up. EVERY. TIME.
Because I don’t see an annoying woman. I see a suffering woman. We can’t know for sure, but she may well have been the mother of some if not all of Job’s ten dead children. Children that she carried in her body. Children that she suffered through childbirth to bring into the world. Children that she nursed and watched grow. How many scraped knees did she kiss? How many accomplishments did she praise? How many hopes did she have for their futures? Did she look at her children and imagine the grandchildren that they would someday give her?
And then, in a moment, all of her hopes and dreams for the future of her children were blown away, and she was left with only bittersweet memories.
But there was more. Her family’s wealth was stolen and her husband was in such bad health that he couldn’t provide for them.
Job’s wife didn’t just have a front row seat to her husband’s torment and suffering. She participated in his pain.
So annoying isn’t the first word I would use to describe her. There are many others that I deem more appropriate.
Grieved. Scared. Hopeless. Lonely. Depleted.
In the end, Job’s blessings were restored, including ten more children. Was his suffering wife also the mother of those children? Oh, I hope so with all of my heart. But do you ever get over such great loss? With every newborn cry, did she hear the echoes of the cries of her lost children? And what type of restoration did her marriage require to even make those newborns possible?
I can’t imagine ever being without my children, so my heart is tender toward this woman. She suffered a lot. Let’s give her some grace.