September 12, 2016
READ: Job 36:1-25
Everyone has seen these things, though only from a distance (v.25).
I do not enjoy being at a loss for words. I feel helpless when I can’t offer comfort to someone who’s hurting. Facing unexpected circumstances with a loved one is difficult enough, but sometimes we feel powerless in not being able to answer their question, “Why?” In our desperation, we rifle through our thoughts in an attempt to at least ease their pain. But those who’ve been through deep waters of trial can attest that the silence of a friend is more golden than misspoken words, especially when the attempt to form answers only produces more pain.
The story of Job serves to prove this eternal truth: We can’t answer for God. Ecclesiastes 3:11 reminds us, “God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.” The working of His hands is simply beyond our finite understanding (Romans 11:33-34)—something we find difficult to accept.
Job’s friends spoke a measure of truth, but their understanding was limited. Yes, God is powerful above our circumstances, and He sees the disobedience of the wicked and will bring justice to those who serve Him (Job 36:5-6). He also knows that suffering can help us grow in our faith and our ability to help others.
Job’s friend Elihu, though he did more than just try to get Job to repent of some unconfessed sin as others had done, still didn’t get the full picture. Job’s suffering wasn’t simply about his relationship with God. Times of suffering do reveal our level of dependency on and trust in God (Job 1:21-22, 2:9-10). But the journey through deep waters also becomes an opportunity for revelation and growth for ourselves and for others.
365-day plan: John 13:1-20
Read Romans 12:15 and consider what it means to truly come alongside someone who’s hurting.
How did you respond when a friend’s words to you during a difficult time seemed harsh and grating rather than comforting? How can the suffering of another person be used by God to help others grow in Him?