Job, Essential Oils, and the Art of Listening

Posted on Jul 18, 2017 at 9:47 AM in Stories & Reflections


I composed the rant in my head as I drove through the rain-splattered streets of Lincoln this morning. I AM OFFENDED, I wanted to cry. I am tired of being offended! And to let you all know just how strongly I feel on the topic, I was prepared to write a post explaining my position and drawing a line in the sand so you know precisely where I stand on this VERY crucial subject of… essential oils. Oh yes, I had a title and everything: The Luxury of Essential Oils.

But then more happened. The ache I’ve been feeling in my soul—the restlessness, the sadness, the weight and burden—was comforted as I listened to my very own words that I gave to a friend yesterday: Read Job.

I’ve read Job before. I have various themes—important ones—in mind and I cherish the book. But you see, the word of God is active. As stagnant as we know books to be, the Bible is not that book. It’s alive and powerful, it has the ability to cut right through your spirit and bring godly truths to mind. What was true when it was written so many years ago is still true now. You have to have spiritual eyes to see the spiritual truths, but if you are listening, the word of God will always speak. And it did so this morning.

I opened the pages of my Bible to Job and the scene was laid before me. You’ve got Job and his wife and all his children right there on earth and they all really enjoyed one another. They feasted and celebrated. Job’s sons and daughters and families liked to be together, to drink wine and spend time in each other’s presence. Life was good, the family was prosperous. Happy times. And then you’ve got another scene presented, only this one is in the heavenly realms. The curtains are pulled back on a picture we humans are simply not privy to and it kind of astounded me. (Sidenote: our daughter has had unsavory dreams lately, so we’ve been talking a lot about the spiritual realm over the last few days. Do ghosts exist as we think of them? I’m not sure, but I do know that angels and demons are at play all the time; this the bible is quite clear about. Followers of Jesus are on the winning side ultimately, but there is always a spiritual battle waging around us.) As it turns out, angels have meetings with God! WHAT. I don’t know if these are like your once-a-week staff meetings or if it’s more like a yearly gathering of the angelic army, but it happens. In Job we’re told it happens. And what’s even crazier is that Satan can just show up. So he does. He shows up and he talks with God in his conniving destructive way. But it’s important to know that Satan is bound by God, ruled by God’s authority, and it’s only by God’s permission that Satan can do any work whatsoever.

Satan is allowed to attack Job. And within a few verses Job is reduced to a mess of a man. He has lost all his wealth. His children have perished. His body is covered, head to toe, with sores and his soul is in utter despair.

He does not curse God.

Instead he worships. He is facedown in the dirt, reduced to mere shreds of the life he enjoyed moments before, and he blesses the name of the Lord.

The book continues and is an utterly fascinating tale of beloved friends with misguided words, Job’s grief and despair, and the God who sustains life from the first of days to the last. It’s a book worthy of your time.

So… essential oils? Well, I’ve lost my fire on the topic. But here is what I long for, friends. I long for the ability to dialogue about things we might feel strongly convicted about. As I walk into Job’s life and start seeing what God allowed to happen to him, and as I begin to read the kind-but-dead-wrong words of his friends, I think it’s important that we listen to one another’s stories. We need more of that, don’t we? When a sister is struggling, will you simply sit silently with her in the ashes for a week as Job’s friend’s did? When she says she’s in pain—emotional or physical—will you hold off from recommending an oil to cure her ills? Will you pause and simply hear what’s going on and will you pray for her?

Today we are so quick to judge. We’re so quick to want to proclaim ourselves as Remedies, Healers, and Wizards. We’re sure that we know the right candidate, the right health care options, and the right oils to make that pain go away. We’re fast to make assumptions. We know for sure that guy reached for the gun instead of holding his hands up. We’re the Judge and the Jury. We’re so wise that we’re the Legislative, Executive and Judicial branches wrapped into one.

Or maybe not.

Last night before bed I jabbed two needles into my thighs and administered a drug I hope will allow me to walk without too much discomfort. Will you sit with me in my story? Will you come watch and see what God is doing with me and will you encourage me to proclaim “blessed be the Lord”? I hope so. And I hope I will come sit with you as you swath yourself with lemon oil and perhaps touch your toes with a poultice made from healing herbs in your back garden. Let’s sit together. Let’s love one another and sit together and praise God with whatever strength we can muster.

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