23–29 September 2018.
Human relationships are complicated and fragile. It’s not always easy to keep a relationship going, and they fail so often for many reasons.
Sadly, far too many times I have seen people’s marriages fail. It’s gotten so bad that today many young people are even giving up on marriage because they see so many broken examples among their parents’ generation. And too many times in my life I have watched as men fall on hard times, lose their jobs, lose their homes, only then to have their wives leave them too. Every time I see that I wonder: Was there ever any loyalty there in that relationship? Was there ever any love? Was there ever really any intention to hold together through good times and bad? Or was the relationship only ever based on money? We see this same problem arise in Job 2.
When we think of Job’s story, we often forget that Job isn’t the only one who is suffering. Job’s wife also has to deal with these many losses. But what makes things more complicated is that it’s Job’s values and integrity that lead to his wife suffering. Her husband wants to do what is right, but the result of his integrity is that she loses her children, she loses her social standing, and she loses the wealth she had through her husband. No wonder then that in v. 9 she angrily shouts at her husband Job, “Are you still holding onto your integrity? Curse God, and die!” And maybe if her husband Job were finally dead, at least then she would also be free to remarry.
This cold and heartless attitude by Job’s wife leaves us all facing a very difficult question: Do we really want our spouses to have integrity and do what is right if it means that we lose out? Or is the only thing we want success? If having integrity means facing suffering and failure, are we really ready to accept that and stand by our spouses? Or will we just abandon our spouses when they fall on hard times and go searching for something (or someone) better?
It’s no secret that the business world in Taiwan is full of corruption and fraud, full of deceit, dishonesty and misconduct. But that’s why in our church communities we must have spouses who encourage each other not just to focus on getting ahead at any cost, not to give up on integrity, standards, and morality just to succeed. When a life of integrity leads to suffering, we need spouses who are willing to stay supportive and encouraging rather than just cutting their losses and walking out.
Job dismisses his wife’s words as foolishness. Yes, Job and his wife have lost everything. But Job knows that this is not a reason to give up on doing what is right, or give up his integrity. Money and house and position are really not the measures of a good and proper life. Instead it’s only in bravely doing what is right that we can find the type of good and blessed life that God truly wants for us.
Pastor Stephen Lakkis