No Job for Job (When the comforters need comforting)

This one is for the caregivers. This one is for the ministers. This one is for those who open their arms and carry the burdens of the heavy-laden.
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.

Over to you:

  • 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?

With thanks to Brandy Walker, whose Shalom Session restored my sight; and Tara Owens, who got my feet working again. Last week, you were both ‘Jobs’ to my Job.

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51 Responses to No Job for Job (When the comforters need comforting)

  1. Dolly@Soulstops 15th August, 2013 at 11:37 pm #

    Dear Tanya,
    Thank you for speaking out of the depth of what you have suffered to bless us…thank you for comforting the hurt and suffering (and who isn’t at some point)…blessings to you 🙂

    • Tanya 21st August, 2013 at 1:59 pm #

      Thanks so much, Dolly – it’s lovely to have you here and hear my writing described as blessing. 🙂

  2. Robin 15th August, 2013 at 11:06 am #

    The timing of this article is perfect. Just yesterday morning I wondered if it was wrong to hope to receive what seems to be natural care for others. As a minister/ counselor I find that most if not all of my relationships are one sided. I’m on the giving end. Although I love that role, seems natural to me to wonder how others are doing, and make a contact, I wonder if others wonder how I am. Thinking it was selfish to wonder that, I naturally turned to God for comfort and care. After reading your article, I can understand my feelings are very natural and not selfish. Guess it is a gift to see what others may miss. Thanks for the encouragement.

    • Tanya 15th August, 2013 at 7:45 pm #

      You have no idea how glad this comment makes me.
      Thank you so much for taking the time to write it.

  3. Joanna 15th August, 2013 at 10:42 am #

    You have such a gift for interpreting the Bible, Tanya.

    • Tanya 15th August, 2013 at 7:44 pm #

      I am going to take this compliment and store it up in my heart for a rainy day.
      THANK YOU.

  4. Beryle Chambers 15th August, 2013 at 6:51 am #

    Thank you so much for recognizing we who try with everything in us to help the suffering. I’ve been doing it all my life. I cannot help but notice when someone is in distress or is vulnerable. I stay in touch, follow up and do whatever I can to help. I am the person family and friends go to when their hearts are broken or their burdens too heavy. And when the crisis is past, most forget me and I may not hear from them until the next difficulty. Yet, when I break, when I disappoint someone because of my own wounds people get angry. But I will always try to assist anyone in my path. I have post traumatic stress disorder from past battles so I know about suffering and I will always respond to anyone in trouble. I try to stay faithful to God but sometimes wonder where God is in relation to my own trials.

    • Tanya 15th August, 2013 at 7:44 pm #

      I love your heart to help the wounded. Thanks so much for stopping to comment.

  5. rachel lee 15th August, 2013 at 4:18 am #

    oh yes, oh yes, oh yes.

    oh yes.

  6. Elizabeth 14th August, 2013 at 10:23 pm #

    While i am ever thankful for feiends who were and are not like Jobs, I remember being so desperate that I, a non-Catholic Christian, went to a priest and cried ,”Who is the priest for the priest?” He encouraged me to rest, to take a break, and to spend time with God. I took the priest’s advice and God in His living mercy showed me that He is the only one who can meet my needs, and in the silence I found rest in Him.

    • Tanya 15th August, 2013 at 7:37 pm #

      I love this story. Thanks so much for sharing it.

  7. Adele Henderson 14th August, 2013 at 9:36 pm #

    Thank you. As a minister I have my own comforter but I always try through deeds to be the comforter to the caregivers at my place of employment. I just sent them the link to this post reminding them that I am here to comfort them when they need comforting.

    • Tanya 15th August, 2013 at 7:36 pm #

      Thanks so much for passing this on!

  8. HopefulLeigh 14th August, 2013 at 6:40 pm #

    This is balm, Tanya. Thank you.

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