Wednesday, April 1, 2009

One Last Bit of "Friendly" Advice

Along comes a new friend to our setting with Job. Elihu is "full of words", evident by the length of his speech which goes on for SIX CHAPTERS!! Very briefly...

He starts in chapter 32 by saying, "I've waited my turn out of respect for you older three. Supposedly older = wiser, right? But now that you're done, I see that's not necessarily the case. But now it's my turn and I've got something to say, and I'm laying it all out on the table for you..."

Elihu gets on Job's case about his attitude that's he's been sporting around towards God...

Job 33:13 - "So how dare you haul Him into court, and then complain that He won't answer your charges?"

Being informed brings a sense of security. It's natural to want to know what's happening in our lives. Job wanted to know what was going on, and why he was suffering. In previous chapters, we sense his frustration, and Elihu claimed to have the answer for Job's biggest question, "Why doesn't God tell me what is happening?" Elihu told Job that God was trying to answer him, but he was not listening. That's where Elihu misjudged God on this point.

If God were to answer all our questions, we would not be adequately tested. What if God had said, "Job, Satan's going to test you and afflict you, but in the end you'll be healed and get everything back"? Job's greatest test was not the pain, but that he did not know why he was suffering. Our greatest test may be that we must trust God's goodness even though we don't understand why our lives are going a certain way. We must learn to trust in God who is good and not in the goodness of life.

Elihu was one who meant well (above the others - or was he the worst one of all of them?) Shortly after our 1st miscarriage, it was one of my closest friends who called to offer sympathy, support, and "advice", and it was this same friend whose words probably should've meant the most to me at such a time. But they missed the mark by saying, "you know, we've been told that the heart really doesn't start beaing until 12 or 13 weeks." Okay, not only was this completely wrong...but completely insensitive!

But that's what happens when advice comes in from all areas...advice that comes from those who have never experienced the loss and pain such as what we had felt and were going through. They couldn't possibly know, and instead perhaps they should've just sat in silence with us, as Job's three friends did when they first arrived on the scene.

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