This is for you – who always end up as the listening ears for weary hearts, the eyes to those who are blind, the feet to those who are lame. You do it because you must, because your compassion drives you, compels you. You do it because you see where others do not. You do it because you feel where others are numb.
You notice the tears in the corners of the eyes of the girl speaking, in amongst the bustle of the church lunch. It is you who softly asks the question when no one is looking, and she cries, and even you are surprised by the flood that is released. “No one ever asked me that before,” she says, and there is relief as well as pain in that statement.
You do it because of them. You do it because of God. You are Job – Job the Righteous, Job the God-fearer.
This is how Job speaks of his life before he lost everything:
“Whoever heard me spoke well of me,
and those who saw me commended me,
because I rescued the poor who cried for help,
and the fatherless who had none to assist them…
I was eyes to the blind
and feet to the lame.
I was a father to the needy;
I took up the case of the stranger.
I broke the fangs of the wicked
And snatched the victims from their teeth.” (Job 29:11-12, 15-17)
God boasted of Job for good reason: he was eyes to the blind, a parent to the needy. Before Job was a sufferer, he was a comforter.
This one is for the comforters. This one is for the righteous and compassionate ones.
But what happens when the comforters need comforting? Who ministers to the ministers?
You had your feet on a rock and you were lifting people out of the pit, and now you have fallen down yourself. It is the loneliest place in the world. You have been helping others – but who is there to help you?
Job laments that when he had lost everything and was in a place of tears, there was no one to help him:
“And now these young men mock me in song;
I have become a byword among them.
They detest me and keep their distance;
they do not hesitate to spit in my face…
They break up my road;
they succeed in destroying me.
‘No one can help him’, they say.” (Job 30:9-10, 13)
For Job, even the people he had once helped detest him for being so needy. They mock him in song. ‘No one can help him’ is the verdict, and as a result, they find him repulsive – threatening, even. They keep their distance.
There is nothing quite so devastating as being open and vulnerable, only to have it used against you as a reason to despise you. There will always be some who respond to suffering like this, who keep their distance, as though your suffering were somehow contagious.
This one is for the sufferers. The ones who need comforting. The caregivers who have given and given until there was nothing left to give. The pastors who have been so used to shepherding that they are ashamed to be a sheep. The feisty mamas who now weep like a baby.
This one is for those who have lost and are grieving. This one is for those who feel alone in their grief, their pain too great to carry themselves.
“Have I not wept for those in trouble?
Has not my soul grieved for the poor?
Yet when I hoped for good, evil came;
when I looked for light, then came darkness.” (Job 30:25-27).
He looks for light but there is only darkness: he searches but there is no one who will help him. There’s now no caregiver for the caregiver. This is at the heart of Job’s great suffering: not only that he has lost, but that he carries it alone. There is no ‘Job’ for Job.
This one is for the hurting. This one is for those who cry out to God in the dark of night, “Have I not wept for those in trouble? Why is there now no one to comfort me?”
This one is for the Jobs. This one is for the sufferers who feel there is no one like them, no one who can say the right thing, no one to comfort them.
May your tears not go unnoticed.
May your vulnerability not be mocked.
May you find a righteous and compassionate friend who seeks out the sufferers.
May you find a Job for your Job.
- Do you ever feel like Job – that you have given out to others, but when you are low, there is no one to comfort you?
- Who has been a ‘Job’ to your Job?
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