What was the last straw for Job’s wife? When we meet her in chapter 2, she and her husband have already sustained unimaginable losses. Their children have been killed, meaning no future legacy for the couple. All of Job’s assets are gone, meaning no livelihood for the couple. Job grieves after these two tragedies, but his wife is mysteriously absent. We hear from her only after Job has resorted to sitting in the ash heap, scraping the gruesome sores that have overtaken his skin.

We might view the wife as a disagreeable character. Yet take a closer look at Satan’s challenge in verse 5: “Stretch out your hand now and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse you to your face.” In the Hebrew scriptures, the expression “bone and flesh” refers to close familial relationships. Job’s wife, his only surviving “bone and flesh," was previously silenced by immense grief. Yet now she has been touched, just as Job’s skin was touched. Job’s wounds are visible on his skin; her wounds are audible in her pessimistic words.

Grief is a complicated process. Many people attempt to be tough through terrible losses: death, serious illness, loss of livelihood. Yet one small thing can set off a torrent of emotions and break through our supposedly thick skin. Job’s wife sees her formerly strong and successful husband sitting in the ash heap, and she descends into bitterness and anger.

Job gives his wife a sharp retort, after which they go their separate ways for a while. As harsh as his words may be, they are a gift to him and to her. By not giving up, Job gives himself a chance to face his God—and time to face bare truths about himself.

God, watch over me when I am at my wits’ end. Strengthen me against bitterness. Forgive my gloomy outlook, and open my eyes so that I can see my situation differently. Thank you for being with me even when I don’t want to be with you. Amen.

Pray the Scriptures Using Audio Lectio
Read Mark 10:2-16

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Lectionary Week
September 27–October 3, 2021
Scripture Overview

This week we read about Job, an upright man who faces severe trials but never loses his faith. Job’s story brings us face-to-face with the fact that living a godly life does not make us immune to suffering. Like Job, the psalmist wonders why he suffers, even though he lives according to God’s standards. Hebrews presents Jesus as the ultimate example of unwarranted suffering, yet because of his perseverance he is ultimately glorified. In Mark, some Pharisees test Jesus on the interpretation of the law concerning divorce. Jesus makes strong statements about marriage, but his larger concern is that their hearts have become hard. He contrasts them with little children, who model faith by receiving God with an open heart.

Questions and Suggestions for Reflection

Read Job 1:1; 2:1-10. What helps you to live with integrity?
Read Psalm 26. Do you feel free in your prayer life to honestly share with God all that you are feeling?
Read Hebrews 1:1-4; 2:5-12. In what ways does God speak to us in our day?
Read Mark 10:2-16. What qualities found in children do you try to cultivate in your spiritual life?

Respond by posting a prayer.