Sometimes I wish I could rewrite the Bible.
Not because it’s wrong or I think I could do a better job, I just want to do a modern paraphrase, like Eugene Peterson did with The Message, only I want it to be from a woman’s perspective. I think it would be helpful…and funny. Scripture interpreted by a woman, addressing modern female issues, like the Proverbs 31 woman wouldn’t be buying vineyards and selling fine linen, but making pallet furniture to sell at a local boutique and designing toilet paper crafts for her Etsy shop.
I’m not taking my version of the Bible seriously, just giving a little womanly insight on passages of scripture that oftentimes can feel so far removed from where we live today that it’s like filming Star Trek on the set of Little House on the Prairie.
“Half Pint! Get to the transporter bay, we’re going to the mercantile!”
Since I have a way with worst, (words too, but I’m immeasurably skilled at expecting the worst), I decided that I’d start with the Book of Complaint, also known as Lamentations.
Now there’s some whining I can relate to!
If I’d have lived in the early part of the 19th century, I would have been said to have suffered from the often talked about, but mostly misunderstood “fits of hysteria.” It was a kind of catch-all for us women folk, and it certainly would have included chronic fatigue, irritable bowl, fibromyalgia, indigestion, PMS (previously known as “the vapors”), psoriasis, gluten-intolerance, candida, headaches, and a host of other uncomfortable, if not debilitating, afflictions that they used to lock women up for.
I’m a bit of what the early Greeks called a hupokhondriakos, which sounds more impressive than the english, hypochondriac. But all of my sickness is not because I’m insane, it’s because I’m so well informed. Dr. Google keeps me up-to-date on all of my potential “conditions” and gives me the home remedies to cure them, so just saying, I’m just more aware of my own body than the average person, thank you very much.
So let me use some of my infinite knowledge on suffering to put Lamentations into perspective for the modern woman that has been told she can have it all.
And by “it” I mean every malady known to woman-kind.
A Woman’s Lament
I am the woman who has seen continual suffering all day long. Surely God is against me. He has made my thyroid and my immune system waste away; he has brought aches to my bones; he has oppressed and gifted me with low libido, headaches, and irritable bowel; he has left me with chronic fatigue like the dead of long ago.
He has made every elixir, every oil, every remedy fail; he has made my burden heavy; though I call and cry for help, he shuts out my prayer; he has blocked my ways with multiple symptoms and no expert to cure me; he has made my hair brittle, my muscles cramped and my nerves weak.
He is a parasite lying in wait for me, a yeast infection in hiding; he has made my enzymes powerless and liver weak; he has made me untreatable; he released a virus and made me a target for its attack. He has given me bladder infections; I have become the supplement lady, the victim of the purveyors of instant cures. He has filled me with food allergies; he has fed me with pesticides. He has made my teeth grind on genetically modified organisms, and made me pay more for organic; I have no peace; I have forgotten what happiness is; so I say, “I’m overwhelmed! When will it stop?”
Dear God, please remember my ulcers and my gluten intolerance, the flatulence and the eczema! I sure can’t forget it! But this I call to mind, and so I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never stops; his mercies never end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is all I have, obviously” says my weary soul, “so I’m going to hope in him.”
The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to those who seek him over saliva tests. It is good that one should wait quietly for the healing of the Lord. He won’t inflict you forever, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love; for he does not afflict out of cruelty but for our benefit. Who has spoken and it came to pass, unless the Lord has commanded it? Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that good and bad come? Why should a woman complain?
You came near when I called on you; you said, ‘Do not worry!’ “You have taken up my cause, O Lord; you have redeemed my body. You have seen the wrong done to me, O Lord; judge my complaint. You have seen all the ravages, all their waxed fruit and hormone-injected meat. You have heard their lies, O Lord, all their plots against healthy living. The lips and thoughts of the corn producers are against me all the day long! Look at their corn syrup and their “evaporated cane juice;” I am the object of their lies. Say you will repay them, O Lord, according to the work of their hands. Say your curse will be on them. Say you will pursue them in anger and destroy them from under your heavens, O Lord, and that I may watch while eating a tub of ice cream.
Real ice cream from your cattle on a thousand hills.”
I tell you, when I read Lamentations 3 I think, “What a whiner!” But when I read my version I think, “Yes sir! Preach it!” Sometimes we just have to put our suffering in their shoes for awhile to see what they were going through. I hope this humorous take helped make that book come to life for you, and offers you some hope when it comes to all that ails you, my sister.
You are not alone and you will be made whole. Whole milk. Ice cream. Come quickly Jesus!