God is all knowing and all powerful. His will for each of us is perfect. But, he doesn’t always act in the ways we can understand. Very often he seems to do things that contradict his justice in the world. As Job suffered, his friends believed that his pain was a result of something he had done.
Eliphaz's First Response to Job
Then Eliphaz the Temanite replied to Job: Will you be patient and let me say a word? For who could keep from speaking out? “In the past, you have encouraged many a troubled soul to trust in God; you have supported those who were weak. Your words have strengthened the fallen; you steadied strikes, you faint and are broken. Does your reverence for Good give you no confidence? Shouldn’t you believe that God will care for those who are upright? (Job 4:1-6).”
One thing suffering people don’t need is harsh words of judgment, especially from our spouse, friends and even our children. Most of us are aware of the wrong things we have done in our life and have a natural desire to make things right. We don’t need to be told by our spouse, friends and even our children that our behavior is disappointing to God. Our father knows better than anyone around us the pain we experience. When we comfort our loved ones when they’re suffering in any area of their life we need to allow them to go through the grief process.
I can remember when my stepson lost his first basketball game. Boy, was he a ball of emotions. He even wanted to quit the team after the loss. His father (my fiancé) wanted to give him a long lecture on the importance of not being a quitter. Basically, he wanted to point out the obvious and show our son how he was exhibiting poor sportsmanship. I urged my fiancé to allow our son time to dwell on his own unhappiness before passing judgment. After all, we have always encouraged our children to seek God when they face devastation. God is the only real hope for restoring our happiness.
Like, Job my stepson could not help wondering why he had to suffer so much pain. Most suffers, always want the WHY question answered. Unfortunately, the answer to that question is often reserved for eternity. Just like Job, our son had to learn to trust God, stay faithful, and committed to his basketball team even if he never received an answer for why his heart hurt so bad after losing a game. Majority of the time we will never know why things happen as they do.
Instead of our son dwelling on his unhappiness and constantly asking God;
Why his basketball team lacked the necessary skills to win the basketball game?
He needed to be reminded that God is with him always even when he feels pain.
We can only begin the healing process of overcoming pain, loss, and the harsh words of our friends by entrusting our life to God and his will for us.
Can you imagine how frustrated Job was when his friend Eliphaz claimed to know why he was suffering?
““Stop and think! Do the innocent die? When have the upright been destroyed? My experience shows that those who plant trouble and cultivate evil will harvest the same. A breath from God destroys them. They vanish in a blast of his anger. The lion roars and the wildcat snarls, but the teeth of strong lions will be broken. The fierce lion will starve for lack of prey, and the cubs of the lioness will be scattered. “This truth was given to me in secret, as though whispered in my ear. It came to me in a disturbing vision at night, when people are in a deep sleep. Fear gripped me, and my bones trembled. A spirit[a] swept past my face, and my hair stood on end. The spirit stopped, but I couldn’t see its shape. There was a form before my eyes. In the silence I heard a voice say, can a mortal be innocent before God? Can anyone be pure before the Creator?’ “If God does not trust his own angels and has charged his messengers with foolishness, how much less will he trust people made of clay! They are made of dust, crushed as easily as a moth. They are alive in the morning but dead by evening, gone forever without a trace. Their tent-cords are pulled and the tent collapses, and they die in ignorance (Job 4:7-21).”
We must remember that Job wasn’t outside God’s favor. He wasn’t disobedient our unwilling to follow God. He was a sufferer, and he needed his friends to trust what they already knew about him. He needed his friends to share his pain and help him grieve. Just like Job, my stepson needed his father to approach him with tenderness and unconditional love. God is deliberately showing us through the story of Job that we need to be more willing to lovingly support our spouse, friends, and children as they face difficult times without trying to take on the role of JUDGEMENT.
Let’s be honest, we have no idea how we would respond if we were placed in Job’s situation or in my stepson’s situation. It would be wiser to respond to the suffering of others like this; “Tell me how you’re feeling” or “Show me how to stand with you in your grief.”
Job knew that God was good, and despite the judgment, he experienced from his friends, he trusted that in the end, God will deal with him fairly.
This was the ultimate lesson my fiancé was able to instill in our son. When he allowed our son to dwell in his own unhappiness, and stood with him in his grief without pasting judgments. Like Job, our son was able to identify his wrongful behavior and build a stronger trust in God. Our son was also able to realize that his team did not lack any necessary skills to win the basketball games, he just had the wrong attitude.
Have you used harsh words of judgment towards your loved ones when they’re suffering?