And the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, he is in your hand, but spare his life.” So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord, and struck Job with painful boils from the soles of his feet to the crown of his head. And he took for himself a potsherd with which to scrape himself while he sat in the midst of the ashes. Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast to your integrity? Curse God and die!”
Our introduction to Job in this book is one of a man very different from the one we see here. The man in Chapter 1 had everything going for him. He was a blameless and God-fearing man who enjoyed prosperity in his family and in his wealth. He had a lot of animals, but they were many more than we can imagine someone having. He had thousands of two kinds of animals and hundreds of two other kinds of animals, so he certainly would have had the property to keep such large flocks and herds. So vast were his holdings that he is called the greatest of all the people of the East. [Job 1:3] God’s hand and favor clearly rested on this man, then everything but his uprightness was stripped from him. It is in this context that his wife, the one who should have been his greatest ally during this time of suffering, challenged him to defy even that integrity.
We see a picture here of two people with very different memories. Job’s wife appears to be stuck in her short-term memory. She sees the poor, pitiful soul that everyone would see in him at face value. He appears to be cursed, so she tells him that he might as well curse the God who must have brought this upon him. She has closed off her long-term memory, the memory on which Job is relying. He remembers the God who brought him prosperity, who blessed him with 10 children and thousands and thousands of animals. Job sees where he is in this moment, but he does not let that cloud or destroy what he sees of God over the course of his life. She is focused on a moment, and he is focused on a lifetime. She sees only the current pain while he sees that pain in light of every joy and blessing he has experienced. Only one of them believes that God’s favor can return one day.
Job responds to his wife’s statement by telling her that we cannot accept only the good from God without also accepting adversity. He understands that this is a package deal which will unfold over the course of a life in hills and valleys, in light and shadow. We can choose to think like Job’s wife and wallow in our adversity as if we never have experienced joy and never will feel it again. The other option is to think like Job and focus on the joy and blessings God has brought us knowing that this adversity is momentary, that the goodness of God is still to come again. We cannot let today’s trouble rob us of the memory of yesterday’s favor and joy. That is a disservice to our souls and a disregard of God’s goodness. Father, have your Spirit remind us of every good thing You have brought us so that we never are disillusioned by the adversity we must face.