Empty offers. Canceled plans. Things unspoken, withheld, erased. You aren’t worth it. You don’t matter. These are the words I’ve heard over the years from family and friends, spoken through their tone and by their actions. These are the words an enemy said to me over and over. They became the filter I used to look at my place in life and in relationships, and I hardly knew it. That belief took me to dark places: From I feel lonely to I am alone; from I feel overlooked to I am invisible. I see it in Job, his own thoughts change from a once confidence in God to:
“How long will you torture me?
How long will you try to crush me with your words?
3 You have already insulted me ten times.
You should be ashamed of treating me so badly.
4 Even if I have sinned,
that is my concern, not yours.
5 You think you’re better than I am,
using my humiliation as evidence of my sin.
6 But it is God who has wronged me,
capturing me in his net.
7 “I cry out, ‘Help!’ but no one answers me.
I protest, but there is no justice.
8 God has blocked my way so I cannot move.
He has plunged my path into darkness.
9 He has stripped me of my honor
and removed the crown from my head.
10 He has demolished me on every side, and I am finished.
He has uprooted my hope like a fallen tree (Job 19:2-10, NLT, emphasis added).
Hey, Job, maybe you didn’t know this, but in the beginning of your story: God thought a lot of you.
He put a hedge of protection around you, but you didn’t know it. All the crazy and loss and pain going on around you made it hard to see. But maybe when you look back, you’ll see you were held.
He thought you could withstand this. And I wonder, if you had known … if you had told yourself those things instead, what would your testimony be?
When I read Job, I don’t always know what to think, but it certainly has me thinking this time around: What are others telling me? What am I telling myself? What is the truth?
Lord, I need to be grounded in YOUR truth to know the truth. I want eyes to see, ears to hear, and a humbled heart to accept what is. I want to tell myself the truth. And when life doesn’t look the way I thought it should or hoped it would, I want to look to You and ask with expectation, “So, what do You have planned instead?” I’m so thankful that anything that happens is under your notice and watch–crazy, loss and pain can have new meaning and purpose.