Disclaimer: After Pentecost, at Park Avenue Baptist Church we are starting a series on Job. Many of us have felt real suffering in our own lives. I decided to push some of my energy into this poem to understand what Job felt like when Zophar blamed him. While in my own life, I’ve had less than two percent of my friends ever say horrible things to me around suffering, job did. After I lost so much, I only had 2 friends say stupid things to me. What I’ve experienced has been nothing but sheer love from my community.
Why the hell did you leave me, when I was hurting the most?
Is this some test? Are we not the house of the holy ghost?
What was is that I did to push you away? Could you not deal with all the loss?
Did you look at me, and say, she is Job. surely she must have sinned against God.
Well re-read the story, Zophar. Many are the afflictions of the righteous.
Suffering is a promise of God! Pass the offering plate, and halle-fucking-lujah.
What? What did you expect?
What did you want from me?
Me to be there for you? I was falling apart.
And where did you Go? And where was God?
Yeah, I know. He will never leave me or forsake me. Yeah, I know, he is close to the broken hearted. She is a mother. Even when others forget me. He is my kinsman-redeemer. He is the God of my youth. She is the God who holds me. I know.
But aren’t you the body of Christ? Could you not have wrapped your arms around me? Could you not have held me?
Was I so intense and strong, that you didn’t want to come near?
I didn’t tell you to fix me. I just asked that you’d stay around.
I don’t know how I am suppose to feel.
But dammit, Zophar, don’t tell me I sinned and I deserved this.
Don’t give me stupid advice, or pontificate some theology, like you actually know something.
Sit shiva a bit longer. Hold me hand a bit more. Hug me while I wail.
I needed a friend, not a know-it-all.
Reflection: After reading this poem, did you identify with Job? Have you been a Zophar?
As part of grief work, I’d like for you to write a poem of your own and read it out loud. Take own Job as a character. Interact with Zophar.
Perhaps you can burn the poem afterwards.
God is with us. Suffering happens to the righteous.