Job is, at the very least, environmentally depressed. Environmental depression means that the atmosphere is so chaotic and hard that you are thrown into depression.
His wife, I would say, is more than environmentally depressed, she is probably clinically depressed from all of the stress they have undergone. Clinical depression can be triggered by environmental factors (stress, trauma, violence) but the chemical in your brain are not properly functioning.
1 in 10 Americans report being depressed. Probably more people experience it than are reported. The thing about depression, though, is that you can’t really reason your way out of depression. You can’t tell yourself that you just shouldn’t be that way and then stop.
Also, a problem with depression is that it can make you a nonfunctional being. Making you feel as if you should just stay in bed all day long.
Note: When you are coming out of depression, you actually have energy for the first time, which is why sometimes people attempt suicide when they start to become medicated. The medication doesn’t just fix the depression immediately (and oft should be accompanied by therapy). That’s why a side effect of medication can be suicide.
All these facts about depression, should be really well known, because many humans experience depression at one point or another during their lives. And depression, like any other major ongoing illness, whatever it be cancer, addiction or mental illness, cannot just be “fixed.” There is no “right answer” no way to just put someone back on track so they can get back to living their lives. It has been too disrupted. But because we don’t know what to do, many people hide the reality of living with longterm illness.
So, if the disasters in Job’s lives are atypical, his response to it, and the fact that no one knows how to cure his ills…is not.
This is brought sharply into focus by a week where Airplanes full of Aids researchers are brought done, factions are fighting more and more in Gaza and Ukraine and children are stuck in limbo at the United States border. No one has “THE” answer for these situations, if it was easy, we wouldn’t be arguing over it so hard.
So what do we do. What does Job do, when he has lost everything, is depressed and is so sick and cannot even afford the doctor? His wife tells him to “Curse God and Die”…to just give up….because she can no longer see anything worth living for….
His friends (at first) get it right. They simply sit with him.
They offer to no words of comfort, no solutions, no platitudes. The sit beside him, and keep quiet for 7 days, because his suffering is so great, there is no solution.
This is our call as human beings. When people suffer so greatly that we have no answers. When the situation is impossible, and there is literally no such thing as a “right” answer, a place where answers are useless.
Our job, at this time, is to sit with that person in need. To be present with them. To become fully aware of who they are and how they are suffering and to affirm to them that
“yes I can hear how you are suffering”
simply that, not try to argue against, fix or wipe away the worry. Because it really doesn’t matter if the voices that are threatening you are real or a delusion. All that matters is that those voices are causing pain and suffering that a person has to go thru.
Jesus knows this.
Jesus went thru depression, on Gethsame, when he looks at the task before him and he just wants to go home and go to bed.
Jesus knows what it is to experience human suffering, not because suffering is holy, or we have to suffer for Christ. No, Jesus experiences this as a human, because God knows our suffering. God also knows that to experience suffering as a human being is a way that God can minister to us.
So God sent Jesus, and Jesus, being fully human, suffered. And when things got really bad, he got depressed.
And what did he want in that time “Friends sit with me while I pray”
This is our calling. Don’t Solve, sit. Don’t judge, listen. Don’t fidget, wait and Enact God’s love.
After all, haven’t all of us been Job at one time or another. And hasn’t Jesus been one of us at one time or another?