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Embracing the Storm: Lessons of Suffering and Resilience from the Book of Job

By Rev. Anne Abdy

Embracing the Storm: Lessons of Suffering and Resilience from the Book of Job

I’ve been thinking about the Old Testament Book from the Prophet Job.  If you have not read this book of the Bible a simple summary might read like this:  This book addresses two fundamental issues. First, human suffering and the sovereignty of God; and second, he also wrestles with immense personal suffering and justice all the while remaining faithful to God.

 

The phrase, “The suffering Job” can take on so many layers of when we read Job’s encounter of suffering. And yet, as much as I want to commiserate with him along with him, I was impressed to read one tiny verse that changed my outlook on Job. It is: “May that day be darkness. May God on high have no thought for it, may no light shine on it. May murk and deep shadow claim it for their own.” (Job 3:4-5). Richard Rohr of The Center for Action and Contemplation, writes in his mediation for Monday, 6/24/2024 the following explanation. “It’s beautiful poetic imagery. He’s [Job] saying: “uncreate that day. Make it not a day of light, but darkness. Let clouds hand over it, eclipse swoop down on it.” Job gives us all permission to acknowledge the darkness, the despair, the fear, the betrayal, or injustice and the list goes on and on.

 

I have learned the hard way and with many years of practice that it is important to acknowledge feelings. So often we are told in childhood to “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” or “get over it” implying that it (whatever the concern is) is only half as bad or trivial at best. I remember feeling miserable when I was not heard or not seen too. Those moments were really harsh growing up and I imagine that many of you may have experienced similar experiences whether they happened in your childhood or adulthood.

 

As a therapist, I would counsel my clients that when they were experiencing deep destructive intense and maybe explosive feelings, that they were to sit on their hands. That way nothing can happen except feeling the feelings. That is what I hear Job is saying too. You need to sit with those strong feelings. Almost befriend them. Learn to tolerate them. The intensity will lessen and dissipate with time. I hear Job saying, “Stay true to who you are! Don’t be swayed! Remember God is here. BELIEVE IT!” 

 

When times are rough, I encourage you to sit on your hands.

When times are rough, I encourage you to use this mantra: Breathe in peace, breathe out ___(feeling).

When times are rough, I encourage you to remember this too shall pass.

When times are rough, I encourage you to talk with God, if only to use the word, “Abba.”

May you find peace in your world, when times are rough.

 

 Citation: Richard Rohr quotation:  https://cac.org/daily-meditations/jobs-emotional-courage/

 Painting: Navigating the Storms of Life by Kevin Carson (KevinCarson.com)


Blessings,

Anne+

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