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  • Writer's pictureStephanie

Remember Job's Wife

Thoughts about the other mother who looked back.

The book of Job in the Bible centers on a man during a season of terrible hardship. He was bowed low under the hand of God.

Very low.

He lost all his children. He lost all his money. And he lost all his ability.

It was the most traumatic Monday ever.

But I have been thinking about his wife.

One minute there she was, hosting the dinner party of the century. She was discussing the best coconut oils and investments in finer wool. Her friends hung on her word, copied her style, basked in her glow. She'd survived homeschooling for over two decades and launched a string of popular, successful children, renowned across Uz for their generosity and hospitality. She'd redone the kitchen. Her taste redefined mid-century-ancient style for the next generation. Joanna Gaines from atop her Magnolia Silo had nothing on this lady.

The next minute, her world crumbled.

Financial ruin. Their servants killed, animals and income destroyed or stolen - her comfortable life was decimated in a day. And then, far worse, her children - all of them, in the prime of life - catastrophically killed. Oh the crushing agony!

Her head spun as she imagined their last terrified moments. She constantly relived the feeling that she should have been there. They should have rescheduled that party. She cried until her tears ran dry, the ache so deep she could hardly breathe. Now they were gone. Guilt twisted her stomach. Regrets and fears reigned in her nightmares.

But even as she reeled from blow upon blow, her husband's health succumbed to a horrific disease. She couldn't cry on his blistered shoulder. She couldn't cry on anyone's shoulder. She must have felt so, so alone.

Life, as she knew it, was completely undone.

Job's wife seems to get a bad rap, since the only thing the Bible notes about her is her reaction to the horror. "Curse God and die!" She wept to her husband as he writhed in pain. "How can a good God give so much pain? He doesn't make sense!"

No, He doesn't. Not from her perspective. Not always from mine either.

I can't say I've had the kind of day Job and his wife did.

But I've thought a lot about this woman recently. A life unraveled. A faith tested. A woman who lost so much.

God took everything away from Job and his wife. His livelihood, his health, his reputation as a Godly man, his legacy - even his marriage was a mess. His identity as a business man, as a social leader, as a father, even as a decent-looking human were destroyed. Her identity as a holy and successful wife, mother, and homemaker went down with him. She was left looking pitiable. He was left looking poor, unwise and unwell and unsightly. A snapshot of him sitting in the ashes of his dead son's house, scraping at his oozing sores, became the cover photo that sold tabloids at the marketplace. "Job - Fallen from Grace" proclaimed the Uz Enquirer.

Except, He hadn't.

Job hadn't fallen from grace.

Quite the contrary.

But grace looked different than Job had previously thought. Or his wife thought.

Or I thought.

Job and his wife had experienced a lot of good in their life. They'd reaped the results of wise business moves, a healthy family culture, and strong work ethics. They knew the positive side of natural events. Based on good life choices, those results were a given.

But grace isn't a given. It's a gift. It's something that isn't earned. It's unnatural.

It's supernatural.

Grace is even more than just unmerited favor. When God gives grace, He goes far above just giving somebody what's good. In fact, God's grace isn't afraid to take away what is good so that He can give what is better. Marriages crumble. Children are hurt. Politics destroy nations. Famine, disease, cold, loneliness, pain... God permits the loss of what is good. But He doesn't stop there.

God's grace isn't afraid to take away what is good so that He can give what is better.


God didn't just want them to be identified as good people. Or even as holy people. He wanted them to be identified as His people.

People defined by grace.

So God took everything good from Job and his wife. They became nobodies. Nobodies with nothing.

Oh, except for one thing.

At the end of his rope, Job prayed for his friends. And God answered with grace. In that moment, Job stopped being known for his own good works - and became known for what God did in Him.

Known by grace.

And he still is.

But what about Job's wife - the woman who couldn't see anything but what she'd lost? God wanted to write grace into her story too. He didn't want people to know her, not her pretty counters, or her sage homeschooling advice, or her ability to turn sourdough-making videos into viral gold - He wanted people to know her God.

Even when she gave up - God didn't.

She became known as a woman who had been given much - even when she'd done nothing to earn it. Known by grace.

And she still is.

Years later, arms that once ached with emptiness gently rocked the small bundle of her first grandchild. She looked around her home, perhaps a cozier space than the ornate marble halls she'd proudly decorated before, and smiled. Mismatched homeschool books graced shelves that she had once cleared of prim lines of leather-bound classics in tears. A batch of spring lambs scampered past the window, followed by two teen boys in bare feet. She used to grimace at the mess the sheep made of the lawn. Now, she grinned at the boys herding their flock. They waved at her. Offbeat notes from a music lesson floated down from a once-silent guest room. Gray hair playing around her temples, the woman remembered the season when her life unraveled.

She wasn't good by any standard.

But God's grace wasn't predicated on her goodness - it was based on His.

In place of good, He had given her Himself. Life defined not by her faith - but God's ability to redeem.

Life defined by grace.

It turned out to be even better than good.

"If we are faithless, He remains faithful. He cannot deny Himself."
2 Timothy 2:13

I don't know the end of my story. Or yours. Sometimes I look back longingly at bygone seasons, wondering what God could possibly be doing. But even when my faith in the goodness of God fails - God doesn't.

He has more than good planned for us.

And He will go to great lengths to give it. Even to those who don't deserve it.

That's grace.

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