1 Then Job answered:
2 “O that my vexation were weighed, and all my calamity laid in the balances!
3 For then it would be heavier than the sand of the sea; therefore my words have been rash.
4 For the arrows of the Almighty are in me; my spirit drinks their poison;
the terrors of God are arrayed against me.
Sometimes we just hit a patch of bad ice…when nothing seems to be going right, and it can feel as if our lives are sliding out of control…and the crash is inevitable!
This can be both scary and frustrating, as it can feel like the weight of our responsibilities and worries are just too much for us bear!
This can happen to any parent, but for single parents it often feels as if we have to bear this weight alone, especially when we pray for help and it appears that we receive silence as our only answer…or when we reach out to others for help but don’t feel like we are getting the help we need. When we are struggling (and losing) with issues like finances, trouble at school, friends or even with the law, addictions, or having problems with the ‘other parent’, etc., we can certainly feel powerless, and can identify with Job, who said that “…the terrors of God are arrayed against me”!
While we may not like to admit it, at times like these our prayers can sound like complaints…but then it is only human to get a bit angry with God when it feels like we are just getting hit with one blow after another. Job knew this all too well, as he too was hit with blow after blow while God and Satan competed for his soul…and Job did get angry too, as he tried to make sense of something he could not understand: why it seemed as if God had turned away from him!
So Job let himself get caught up in some truly justifiable anger, and was not shy about giving God a piece of his mind…and it must have felt good to do that, to blow off some steam at God…for a little while any way; just as it can feel good when I get mad at God for not doing things MY way…but just for a little while.
As with Job, even though I have had plenty of complaints, I never lost my faith in God (after all how could I be angry with someone I did not have faith in); because I need to have faith in God’s love in my life as this helps me to get through the challenges I am called to face.
And here is the good news from today’s reading: that God is strong enough to take our anger, and still love us!
God never lost his love for Job, even with the complaints and justifiable anger…even as Job was tormented by grief and loss…although God seemed to be uncaring, he never left Job’s side, and saw him though his troubles.
As parents we can understand how God must have suffered with Job, as we too can feel every sorrow and hurt that our children go through…even if it is of their own doing; and as parents we can understand how God could still love Job, even though the complaints and anger must have been painful to endure!
Few of us will raise a child to adulthood without hearing some words that hurt us to the core: words of anger, frustration and words meant to cause us pain. Although they are hard to hear, we can take comfort in remembering that these words are usually said out of fear, by those we love, but who are struggling to face overwhelming challenges in their lives….
After all, growing up can be hard to do, and despite our best efforts we cannot always protect our children from trouble, pain and fear…sometimes the best we can do is just love them, and give them the support they need to face these challenges…even if that means getting out of their way and letting them fall, so they can learn to get back up.
It is a hard road we follow as single parents, and for all the joys and closeness we have shared our children, we also share much of their struggle and pain…
Our hope is in the fact that we are never alone in our struggles…just as our children are never abandoned by our love, we are never left behind by the love of God.
Although he went through great hardships, Job was eventually healed and his life restored through his faith in God; and it is through faith that we can be restored, that we can, and our children find our way off the ice, and into the warmth of God’s love, as shared with each other…the love that promises that the Kingdom of God is not so far off at all…and this promise can turn our complaints into rejoicing!
Let Us Pray:
God, please give us safe travels as we raise our children, and live our lives as single parents. When the going gets icy, and we feel that we are sliding out of control, let us remember that you are always with us to guide us. Forgive us for those times when we vent our anger at you or others, and thank you that your love endures our complaints and even our anger. Let us also show that same forgiveness to our children and to ourselves, for those times when our frustrations get the better of us. Help us to remember that no matter how hard the road, it is by walking together in faith that we will wind up in the warmth of your Kingdom.