When I’m exhausted or in pain, my tolerance for anything disruptive tends to be very low.
I find myself apologizing to my husband for being grouchy and snippy. I hide in my bedroom to get away from my family. I just want to avoid all interaction until I feel myself again.
As my mother told me when I was a child, “You’re pretty easy to get along with when everything goes well. But when something doesn’t go your way – look out, world!”
Now, as God said to Satan, let’s consider God’s servant Job.
If anyone had an excuse to reach a breaking point, it was he!
Yet, despite the loss of his ten children and his vast wealth, he would not speak against God.
Then, God allowed Satan to take Job’s health as well.
And Satan answered the Lord, and said, Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life. But put forth thine hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse thee to thy face. And the Lord said unto Satan, Behold, he is in thine hand; but save his life. So went Satan forth from the presence of the Lord, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown. – Job 2:4-7
Job sat among dust and ashes, perhaps in the “landfill” of the time, a place apart in which refuse was burned. He scraped his skin with a broken piece of pottery, trying to relieve the itch, pain, and pressure of his sores.
Job’s wife asked him why he didn’t just curse God, and die. Perhaps she said this out of her own grief and despair, or out of a belief that her husband simply must have brought the wrath of God upon him. Perhaps she felt that because of his current condition, he would be better off dead.
But [Job] said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips. – Job 2:10
Job managed to speak with loving restraint to his wife. He did not call her a fool, or even foolish, but implied that she was speaking out of character, as a foolish woman would speak.
While sitting in that ash heap and scraping his horrible sores, he didn’t sin – both in speaking about God, and in speaking to his wife.
Imagine the time and devotion to God it must have taken for Job to have developed such depth of character! His restraint has certainly challenged me to watch my words, particularly when I am at my weakest.
What inspires you about Job’s story? What helps you control your tongue? I look forward to your comments.