Loss of any kind usually precipitates grieving. We grieve for the lost loved-one who died, the car we wrecked, or the position we didn’t get. We engage in non-verbal gestures to show our grief by crying, withdrawing, or sadness in our demeanor. We also start talking about our loss to people around us whom we trust to understand. Usually, both types of mourning, non-verbal and verbal, help us slowly come to terms with the reality.
At first, after his unbelievable succession of losses, Job grieves: he tears his robe, cuts off his hair, and throws himself on the ground to worship. That worship he expressed verbally in his famous words, “Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return there (i.e., the grave); the Lord has given, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord” (1:21). Believers universally admire his steadfast loyalty to the Lord in the face of such tragedy. I have no doubt everything Job said, he deeply believed.
Most people admire his words, but not his wife. Job’s steadfast loyalty to the Lord in the face of such massive loss, including, with his additional skin disease, his health, may have also seemed unreal. She therefore provokes him to “Say something!” Surprised by his maintaining his “integrity” (innocence, a main issue of the book), when she calls on him to “Curse God and die!” (2:9), she reflects her bitterness. Job’s response is again in character (2:10): he rebukes her.
I wonder about the possible connection between Job’s non-verbal responses so far to his tragic losses, and his disease. Yes, the Satan (i.e., the Prosecutor) afflicts him with a “severe inflammation” (2:7). Maybe, however, Job’s own conflict between his loyalty to the Lord and his human grief, which he cannot yet put into words, represents the precise tool Satan uses to do that.
Do you know someone who suffers emotionally or physically because they cannot put their grief into words? How easy is that for you?