Is It Worth It?
Does the wild donkey bray when he has grass,Job 6:5-6
or the ox low over his fodder?
Can that which is tasteless be eaten without salt,
or is there any taste in the juice of the mallow?
I’ve been taking a slow walk through Job’s story. Taking time to read, reflect, dialogue with God, and learn some valuable lessons for my life from Job’s experience. Reading over his first response to his friend in chapters 6 and 7, these verses stuck out to me. I had to come back and re-read them several times.
Job’s response to his friend Eliphaz is in large part justifying his complaints to God. Have you ever complained about something in life? That’s probably an easy question to answer. It is really more of a rhetorical question because the reality is everyone complains about something. I know I do, a lot more than I should. And that is why this verse stuck out to me, I finally realized after reading it several times.
See, Job is really asking rhetorical questions here. Do we complain about good things? Do run after things we don’t really like or want? Look at the animals who have food, they don’t complain. Look at tasteless food, we don’t eat it without making an attempt to make it taste better.
Job is reminding his friend he has a just cause to bring before God. He just lost everything.
The question this raises in my own reflection is really simple. Are the things I bring before God really as important as I like to think they are?
As I said, I complain a lot. But the reality is, more often than not I complain about things that are unimportant. I tend to make mountains out of molehills when I bring my troubles to God. And it’s not that God is too big to deal with my little issues, or that I shouldn’t bring all of my cares and worries to God. But when I allow them to take greater precedence than they should, am I really honoring God in bringing it to Him the way I do?
Job lost everything, and he cried out to God. His friends, in their “wisdom”, rebuked him for it. But to Job’s defense, he wasn’t crying out to God over a small issue. This was his future, his offspring, wealth, and even his own health. He wanted to understand why such a gracious God seemingly turned His back on him. To his friends, Job was complaining to God for what they perceived as discipline for choices either he or his children made. But God himself declared Job was a righteous man, in whom no blame could be found.
When I read Job’s story, the dialogue between him and his friends, between him and God, I see a man struggling with his emotions trying to understand why God would allow such suffering to strike him. It makes me really think about complaining about my headache like it’s killing me. Or when I’m in a situation that pushes me out of my comfort zone. Or being disciplined for choices I made.
Are the things I bring before God of real importance? Or do I allow what are really just inconveniences to become of greater importance than they should? It’s not about “wasting God’s time”. That’s not it at all; it’s about focusing on things that really matter. How much time do I spend focusing on, and complaining about, things that I make more important than they really are?
And how much time and energy of genuine communion with God does that rob Him and me of?
Job’s life was flipped upside down. I think that’s a worthwhile issue to talk to God about. And whatever you’re facing might be too. My challenge is simply this in reflection of Job’s words: let the truly important things take precedence when coming before God. Let’s fight the temptation to make the small things big things. And let’s be sure we take the big things to God in a way that honors Him, seeking understanding over complaining.