to love again

Job’s agonizing story is not our own, and yet there are parts of his questioning, lamenting posture before God that offers a sense of human solidarity and the disrupting hope of a restorative God in the fragile midst of that humanity. After all of the suffering and death early in the book, at the end of the book, Job has seven more sons and three more daughters. Old Testament Prof. Ellen Davis makes the important note that this is not a “replacement” of the children Job lost, as if that were even a possibility. Rather, she suggests that the “clearest expression of the renewal of Job’s mind” is “his willingness to have more children.”Job knows all too well the realities of loss and human fragility. And yet, he pours himself again into the lives of fragile, mortal children. Davis powerfully concludes: “this book is not about justifying God’s actions; it is about Job’s transformation. It is useless to ask how much (or how little) it cost God to give more children. The real question is how much it costs Job to become a father again. How can he open himself again to the terrible vulnerability of loving those whom he cannot protect against suffering and untimely death?”

I have an honest to goodness deep-seated fear of love.

Oh, I’m good at the superficial forms of loving behavior such as compassion, mercy, sympathy, empathy. But real, true, deep love?

If you’ve been following my life story at all, I’m sure you can see where my fear of love was born.

This morning, I read the above quote in an email I received. After I became a Christian, the book of Job was the first book in the Bible that I was led to read. I really love the book of Job. God spoke to me so much through this one book. He revealed a lot of my inner stuff to me through this book.

What I find striking about the above quote, is the perspective of Job’s love and faith in God giving him the strength, the courage to start over, have more children, love those children, and pour into those children.

Sometimes I wonder if God is doing the same for me? Is he allowing me the strength, the courage to examine my past so that I’ll be able to get past this terrible fear of love? Bringing me full circle that I might be able to have an intimate, loving relationship again?

Because at some point in my life, I stopped believing in human love, the way a child stops believing in fairy tales.

And so in this one important thing, I pray, help my unbelief.

His… Michelle
Philippians 1:20

Linking with Jen for Unite the Blogosphere , Kelli for Unforced Rhythyms, and the SDG Gathering.

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18 thoughts on “to love again

  1. I love/hate when He brings me to the place where only HE can do a work in me. I love that he does it, but the process is long and hard because of my stubbornness. I am also praying for God to help my unbelief in areas of my life. I’m with you, sister.

  2. My expectations of people and people’s faithfulness is much lower than it was in my youth.

    My confidence in God’s faithfulness and goodness is much higher than in my youth…though of a different nature. I no longer expect God to keep me from difficulty, but rather to walk with me and strengthen and comfort me through all of life’s difficulties.

    And this…this confidence in God’s faithfulness…is what has allowed me to love again. I don’t have to fear the pain because I know my heart’s deepest love is completely faithful.

    Thank you for the thought-provoking post and your willingness to write about the deep places of your heart, with transparency.

    Blessings to you!

    • Thank you Joe for your feedback. I really appreciate it so much. And You make such a great point about your confidence being centered on the Lord, which allowed you to love again. That’s something for me to chew on. 🙂

  3. Do you know that I had never before even considered this aspect of Job’s story? And I am going to have to contemplate this – it’s very insightful and deep.

    You know, Michelle, it occurs to me that it’s rather amazing how God met you with His love, and that you were willing to open up your heart to Him. Your past did not keep you from Him, and though people are certainly fallible and hurtful (unlike Him), I still see His ability to perform a miracle of healing in your heart so that you can love again.

    Perhaps the pain is a purging to make room for you to be re-filled with the right stuff!

    GOD BLESS!

  4. Oh, my that is a fantastic quote. I love Job’s story, and like you, I was drawn there in the early part of my relationship with Christ, right there with Revelation because I wanted to know the end first. 🙂 Isn’t that how we are supposed to read books? Actually, I love how real you are when you write, Michelle.
    It is hard to believe in real, true, lasting love when hurt and pain, deep-seated and damaging memories remind us of the loss we have endured. I do know that we have a God who is able to make the impossible happen and restore when there is no hope of rebuilding.
    I have been asking the same question over the last few weeks, ‘Help me in my unbelief!’ and I am finding that He is bringing me to those places where I have to let go and let Him be God. They are not comfortable and they are often soul-wrenching, but I know that I want to get past the areas where I have allowed the fear of something to steal the prospect of hope from my future. I am praying you will be met with abundant faith as He leads you towards His Love! 🙂

    Bless you!
    Dawn

  5. Job was Mama’s favorite book the Bible, perhaps she related to his trials, his questions to his Maker. I always find it interesting that God doesn’t answer all of Job’s questions, but just reveals His own character to Job, leaving him to draw his own conclusions about God and his sovereignty. He doesn’t defend Himself or His actions.

  6. Oh, yes. I am grateful that He brings us full circle and doesn’t leave us with the emotions life events often give way to…I haven’t thought about Job’s fear of starting over after he had lost it all before in a long time. Fear of being without or being betrayed again…those are powerful. I think for me, after betrayal, it wasn’t as hard to love again as to trust again. But then again, can true love exist without trust?

    • No Jen, I don’t think it can. This is why it’s so crucial to let go of the fear. I was good friends with a little boy on the Africa Mercy a year ago. When it was time for me to come home, he was devastated. He cried and it broke my heart. His mama said even though it was breaking my heart to see him cry, she was so happy because he has a hard time forming loving relationships and this meant he really loved me. But oh boy, I hate that heart pain and my instinct is to run from it.

  7. Wow, that perspective of Job is one I never heard of considered before. There is such a vulnerable courage in that, it touches me deeply in my places that are also so afraid of loving in the ways that you have shared. It takes immense courage, too, to face those fears that precede the opening to love, and I don’t doubt you have that courage. In time, Micey. That prayer – help me with my unbelief? It’s a lifesaver for me, too. I’m rooting for you.

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