Job 7:11-21

Therefore I will not restrain my mouth, I will speak in the anguish of my spirit; I will complain in the bitterness of my soul (v. 11).

My breakfast tray came, but I couldn’t open the milk carton. If only they’d hurry up with those test results and release me from the hospital. I had to prepare for my graduate qualifying exams. I don’t have time to waste.

I fumbled with that little red and white carton and recalled the last 12 hours. I remembered falling, and an ambulance, and how I kept trying to sign my hospital admission papers but couldn’t hold the pen. Was I just in shock? Was that why the fingers of my left hand weren’t doing as I commanded? 

When the neurologist walked in, he cautiously sat next to me and said “stroke,” “TIA,” and other acronyms I didn’t want to hear. Maybe physical therapy would help. Maybe a miracle. But I’m only twenty-five, I thought. I need to read more, write more, and walk more. I need to do everything!

With my still strong right hand, I slammed the milk carton on the tray as hard as I could. No medical rationale was going to make me feel better about my prognosis. 

The doctor kindly reached out and opened the carton. I sipped the milk and wept. Tomorrow would be another day for hope, I thought. Or gratitude. Or selflessness. Or showing love to others. But not today. Today I wept. 

My mother was in a corner keeping her tears at bay. With her silence, she let me know that the grief I felt was okay.


When have you experienced grief that you could not possibly hold inside? Why is silence an effective response?


God, give us the wisdom to let ourselves, and others, fully experience the sorrow we feel. As Job unveiled the bitterness in his soul, remind us that expressing anguish can prepare for challenges you will help us conquer. Amen.

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