Lessons from the Book of Job 

Prince William, Catherin, and Harry founded a mental health charity after figures showed the number of female suicides rose sharply in 2015.

The number of women who killed themselves rose sharply last year as the number of suicides for England and Wales reached a 20-year high. According to figures released from the Ministry of Justice, there were 3,899 rulings of suicide in coroners’ courts in 2015. This was more than for any 12 months since 1995 when the data series began.

While the number of men who killed themselves fell to 2,997, 23 fewer than in 2014, the statistics for women increased by 70 to 902. The fewest suicides were in 2007 when 3,007 such verdicts were recorded, and the number has risen consistently since then.

What is it that causes a person to take their own life? The easy answer is to say its’ mental illness, shrug our shoulders and move on. But who assesses what mental illness is? By what measuring rod does one assess if a person is mentally ill or not?

I have ministered to perfectly healthy people who outwardly seem successful, and happy but have experienced an acute amount of stress that caused them to despair for their very life. However, these people were not mentally ill. 

I really believe that some people will not admit they feel suicidal for fear of being labeled mentally ill. However, wanting to die in the face of acute stress, illness or circumstances is not so unusual. 

For example, in the book of Job, we read how he wanted to die and cursed the day he was born. The Bible did not label Job as mentally ill, but we see a very human reaction through Jobs’ despair when there seems to be no hope. 

Lessons from Job 

Job can be a difficult book to understand, however, it can help us in our everyday life. I am studying Job in my personal daily quiet time and found it a wonderful insight into the human condition. None of us need to feel ashamed by having such thoughts, even if an attempt to die has been made. Like Job, we are human, and we are weak at times and may feel there’s is no way out of our circumstances expect to die. 

That’s why, just like Job, we need to be in a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ gives us hope and strength to live each day. Read John chapter 3 & 1 Corinthians as the whole 13th chapter.  

You have Meaning & Purpose.

We were born for a purpose, and that purpose is to love. To be loved by God and love God back and love other human beings. Each of us is unique and very important and much loved by God. We may want to end our life, but God wants us to live life to the full.

 If you haven’t already, give your life to Christ and wait on Him to fill you with His Holy Spirit, and you will have the passion to live out God’s purpose for your life. You will find true meaning and happiness and courage to face the most difficult of circumstances. 

Every day you will be living in God’s strength and not your own. 

Also, if you know someone who is struggling with life, pass this article to them, and pray for them. Be light in someone’s darkness today.

The real problem arises when we don’t know what to do with our troubles. We wonder how on earth do we get through this! And how do we survive this phase of mourning and not allow it to immobilize us in some way? How can we make sense of what is happening?

 This is where the 23rd Psalm helps us. As you read on, I pray that the Holy Spirit of God will minister to you and heal you in this time of grief. Psalm 23 is found in the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament). 

WHAT’S IN A NAME?

It is important to understand who God is. If really difficult to receive healing from someone you know little about. So, let’s take a brief look at the character of God.

So, who is God? There is no name for God as we understand the term to be. God is not a John or an Eric or even a Fred, for example. But what we believe are names for God are actually descriptions of God’s nature, characters, and actions.

For instance, Jehovah-Raah, which means The Lord, my Shepherd. Jehovah is translated as “The Existing One” or “Lord.” It also suggests “to become” or specifically “to become known. This denotes a God who always discloses who He is. A shepherd is the one who feeds or leads his flock to pasture (Ezekiel 34:11-15). An extended translation is “friend” or “companion.” This indicates the intimacy God desires between Himself and His people and can be understood as “The Lord, my Friend.” 

 GOD HAS NO GENDER

I refer to God as Father a lot however it does not indicate that God is a man. To be able to accept help from God. we need to trust who God is and will do what he promised us. Therefore, understanding God will benefit our faith greatly. So here we will briefly discuss who God is. God is Spirit- not a man.

People get hung up on God’s gender, but God has no gender. Why is this so important? I have found that some find it challenging to receive from God because God is a man. Past or current toxic relationships with men cause their relationship with God to become problematic. Therefore, understanding that God has no gender is especially important. 

Well, He’s a father, right? He’s a he – The concept of a genderless God can be confusing.

So let’s take a brief look and see. 

In Christianity, the Hebrew scriptures are referred to as the Old Testament. Here, God is a He. The ‘he’ simply is an allegory for His authority and creativeness. The Hebrew word he is usually not written out, but more understood from the verbal form. Then he is used as a reference to God not to be confused with the Latin HE, which refers to one’s gender.

 All the names of God in the Scripture are simply a description of his actives in creation. By this, we then understand who God is. Therefore, the is He is referring to the Infinite Being (Ain Sof), who is the creator of the universe and is above all divine names. So, God is not a he or she (Numbers 23.19-20). God is a spirit.

Jesus taught us to worship God in spirit and in truth (John 4.24). A spirit is a genderless being who is eternal, beyond time and space. God is the Alpha (the beginning) and the Omega (the end) of all things. Beyond time and space (Revelation 21:6). It is the eternal creator who lives in you by his Holy Spirit so you can succeed, “you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you” Philippians 4.13.

 We could grapple with meanings of words all day, but the vital point to grasp is that God is Yahweh, which means, I Am who I Am. It is not God’s name but describes the Eternal Divine. God in Christ is above all names, in other words, God just IS. God is past, present, and future. God is a timeless, genderless Spirit being whose essence is love.

God The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit exist as One beyond the universe or human imagination and yet present with us in our worst fears and the most profound grief. God shows himself in Christ, on earth. I know it’s mind-blowing, but that same Christ lives in you, who we call, the Holy Spirit. Colossians 1:27-To them, God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. 

To place that into today’s understanding – Christ is the matrix of all that is. Christ IN YOU the hope of glory. ( the promise of beauty). How wonderful!

God is also depicted widely in Scripture as having female attributes. This is a beautiful metaphor depicting his nurturing character. We see this clearly in many scriptures, and just for an example here Deut. 32:18 “You forget the rock who begot you, unmindful of the God who gave birth to you“. Here we understand that God is not a rock, but the allegory is used to describe the steadfastness of God’s nature. Likewise, ‘he’ is also used in this way. Job knew the steadfastness of God and place his trust in this infinite being.

In my book ‘NOTHING GOOD ABOUT GRIEF: from grief to recovery’ I go into this in more detail.

 When we know who God is, we come to understand God in Jesus Christ, securing us in our journey through our darkest valley. 

You have meaning & purpose because God loves you and has a wonderful plan for a happy life.

If you want some ideas and tools to relieve and manage stress, check out the course in the top menu.

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sing the LORD’s praise

Psalm 13:1-6 1How long, LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? 2How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me? 3Look on me and answer, LORD my God. Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death, 4and my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,” and my foes will rejoice when I fall. 5But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. 6I will sing the LORD’s praise, for he has been good to me.

The Harder, I try, the more it seems that success escapes me…..

…………….Lately, my life goes like this-. When I try to save money, a new bill arrives, and then in a blink of an eye, my savings have vanished. When I try something new, it ends up costing me more money than I budgeted. Psalm 13 articulate the absolute cry of my heart. I buy new desktop programs to help with my work efficiency, which is supposed to save me time and money but ended up costing me more time and more money than I expected. I tried to fix a relationship only to find that I made the whole situation worse. I am trying to stay positive as possible, then suddenly plummeted down to the depths of despair. Everything single thing that I put my hand to has gone very wrong! It appears life is full of two steps forward and five back.

Where is God in my situation? My thoughts are so unruly they mess with my brain!

Can you relate?

As a Christian, as a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, how should I approach this issue? God has abandoned his promises to help me. Do my prayers fall into the ground unheard? Are God’s promises false and empty, or is it something else?

My days are full of despair, and there are no answers to my cries.

I try to make sense of the situation and even perhaps trying to lay blame somewhere. But is this the struggle of life I have to go through to survive? Is my expectation of life unreasonable? Have I a narrow view to what is going on, failing to see the full picture? Why does it seem that the wicked prosper, and the more honest I am, the more it costs me? Is God allowing this for some higher reason?

Although no direct answers come to me, the only thing I can think of at these times is that following Jesus isn’t about having an easy time of it. After all, I volunteered to follow Jesus who told me to take up my cross- that’s not a walk in the park but sounds like hardship 101 to me! If life worked out according to my prayers, how that would build my character, maybe I might end up as spiritual spoilt brat. I guess that if I must relate to real life, to help others through real life, in all its despair. Maybe I ought to experience the same in real-time so that I may help others in real-time. What do you think?

For 30 years plus of being a follower of Jesus Christ, I have met tons of people. Looking back, people with spiritual pride look down their nose on those people you fail because they have forgotten their struggles, or even deny them. They reveal their current success, and somehow it slipped their memory exactly how they got where they are.

For me, I cry out “Lord I desire to do your will more than anything else in the whole world, but the more I do, the more disastrous my life seems to be”. I wonder, how am I going to crawl or jump out of this hole?

I have concluded that I have two choices. 

1) I can walk away from God and go hey I’m going to do this thing on my own because it doesn’t work with you anyway.

2) Or, I can take a leaf out of Job book 13:15– and profess- 

Though he slays me, yet will I hope in him; I will indeed defend my ways to his face.’

I’m old enough in the Lord now well over 30 years since I gave my heart life to Christ to know full well that we only really have spiritually, what we can hold under pressure. The pressures of life reveal who I really am, how I think and what I really do believe, and my actions will show that. I could distance myself from God and the reality of my situation and the gravity of its consequences, or I trust God’s in it all anyway.

When I trust God, and of course, not knowing or understanding what’s really happening, it is then I realise my potential for walking in faith. Walking in faith is all about putting your hand in the hands of God grace and mercy, allowing him to lead even when you cannot see the way forward. Because faith would not be faith otherwise and if you had it all figured out, why would you need your Good Shepherd to lead you? It would not be walking in faith if you can see the end result. It would not be walking in faith if every single time you prayed for something, and it worked out. I guess that God is not a slot machine prayer-answering person- prayer in- answer out immediately.

The apostle Paul said that when I am weak, that is when I am truly strong. It doesn’t make much sense to our natural selves, but it makes a heap sense to our spiritual selves. 

So, what to do now?

Regardless of my devastating circumstance, my losses, and my griefs, I need to choose to stand on God promises anyway. Even though my heart is sad, my mind confused and downcast, I need to rejoice in the Lord always – anyway. Although the heavens may seem as brass, my prayers don’t seem to be going anywhere at all; I need to choose then to pray without ceasing – anyway.

Father God encourages us to articulate how we really feel and not pretend. Putting questions to God is great. Then at some point, we must come to – “may your will be done in my life as it is already designed to be so in heaven”. So, my mantra should now be – “I surrender my life to you Lord, so Lord show me the path that you would have designed, and I will navigate all its rocks and bumps, its dangers. Lord lead me to the rock that is higher than I, so I may I glory is not in myself, not in my circumstances, but may I glory and glory alone and the Lord Jesus, who is my Lord, my Saviour, and soon coming King.”

Now I have come to the end of this blog article which I wrote with many tears, and I realise how much I miss writing. Although I do short articles like this, I miss the challenge of creating a book writing it up. I have written two books and published them in 6 months of 2021. The beginning of the process was mind-bending; however, in the end, I looked forward to my daily session of writing. For 2021 I planned not to write another till June, and now I have just realised I was wrong. I am sure I lost my peace because of this decision. I have just decided to write two books in 2021 by starting right now, at this moment. I saved this unfinished article, took a break from writing this article for a day. I began to plan book 3 and guess what! EVERYTHING CHANGED. The clouds outside do not look too gloomy now, even the cold winter air feels warmer, I have more energy, and my mind has cleared. Thank you, Lord, for lifting the gloom!

I wonder what decisions do you need to make?

At the end of Psalm 13 verse 6 gives us a clue to what to doI will sing the LORD’s praise, for he has been good to me. So, lament, as in the first few verses then we Praise !

Then ask yourself- What actions do you need to take? Put it on your Godly plan and find a way forward into God peace of mind, heart, and soul. 

John 14:27 

‘Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

And please remember to live in Hope Faith and Love and 

Live Life on Purpose!

Rev Paula

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