During this time of seclusion, the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage and yours truly have spent some significant time binge-watching some of those Hallmark mystery movies. After a while, they all look alike, but my wife loves them; therefore, so do I.
The other night as we were watching, one of the characters was a very old, grouchy, mean-looking woman who had nothing nice to say about anybody. I usually groaned whenever I saw her.
In the middle of the movie, my wife looked at me and said, “Does that woman remind you of anybody?”
Whenever my wife asks me a question, I never know if it is a trick question or if she is looking for information. Most of the time, she is not looking for information. Therefore, I responded in the negative.
“Just look at her,” my wife added. “Doesn’t she remind you of Aunt Flora?
I paused for a moment and then responded, “Oh, my goodness. She sure does.”
I wished she would not have brought that subject up. I had not thought of Aunt Flora for years. I only knew her for the last 10 years of her life.
Aunt Flora was a very grouchy, complaining old woman. She could find a dark cloud in every burst of sunshine. No matter how good a situation might be, she could find the bad in it and exploit it.
Not only was she grouchy, but she was the neighborhood gossip. She knew things a few days before they actually happened. If you did not want anybody else to know, you certainly did not tell Aunt Flora.
What Aunt Flora did not know was, when you wanted the whole community to know something, you whispered it into Aunt Flora’s ear.
I never spent too much time with her, but I remember one time she gave me some advice.
“Sonny” — she couldn’t remember my name — “when everything fails, it’s over.” I cannot tell you how many times I heard her say that.
If anybody knew anything about failure, it was her. As far as I know, and I could be wrong, she had three failed marriages. Knowing her as I knew her at the time, I can fully understand why her marriages failed.
I often thought it would be great to find one of those ex-husbands and talk about what he thought about my Aunt Flora. I am sure I would have had several earfuls of material. As far as I know, nobody knew where those husbands were. I do not think I am going to dig any deeper than that.
During a commercial in the movie we were watching, I talked to my wife about my Aunt Flora in the kind of person she was. My wife knew Aunt Flora for a relatively short time, but you only had to meet her once to know what she was really all about.
“Do you know who Aunt Flora reminded me of?”
I stared at my wife a little bit, shook my head, and said, “No. Who does she remind you of?”
I was prepared for a whole lot of comparisons.
Thinking for a moment, she finally said, “Aunt Flora reminds me of Job’s wife in the Old Testament.”
That sure got me thinking. Never for once did I think that Aunt Flora was anywhere close to some Bible character.
However, as we talked about it, I begin to see her point of view. Aunt Flora was certainly a modern-day Mrs. Job.
You remember the story in the Old Testament. The story of Job and all of the conflict, problems and disaster that came down upon him. He did not know what was coming, did not know when it was coming or why it was coming, but all kinds of problems surrounded him.
Amid those problems, Mrs. Job comes to her husband and says, “Curse God, and die” (Job 2:9). I cannot imagine any wife saying such a thing to her husband. Yet, that is exactly what old Aunt Flora would have done. Who knows, maybe she did say that many times to her ex-husbands.
I do not know how Job really got through all his problems, particularly when he did not have a wife to support him. I think she had the same attitude as Aunt Flora.
What I like about Job was, despite his wife’s encouragement to give up, Job said something that amazes me. “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him” (Job 13:15a).
Job did not hold to the same ideas as Mrs. Job or Aunt Flora, who said, “When everything fails, it’s over.”
Talking with Aunt Flora, I would always come away discouraged and depressed. She had not a positive thing to say about anything or anybody. If you were on a high and you wanted to find a way down, just spend time with Aunt Flora.
While we were talking about Aunt Flora, I happen to think of one of my favorite verses in the Bible. “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6).
In one way, Aunt Flora was right. When everything fails, it’s over. But not the way she thought. Looking at it from Job’s point of view, when everything fails, it is time for God to do what only God can do.