Psalm 48:14 – For this God is our God for ever and ever; he will be our guide even to the end.
As Bobby and I continue to search and ask why God has brought the unrelenting pain of isolation and separation into ours lives, we turn again and again to the only guidance and guide we can rely on for complete truthfulness. God’s Holy Word is our map for our guidance, and the Holy Spirit is our constant companion and guide.
With the guidance of the Holy Spirit, God has brought us to the Book of Job before, but recently, God has directed us back again to this surprising book of suffering, Satan’s attacks, God’s goodness, and our own pride or others and trusting in God.
Just like Job, we had well meaning people give us what they thought was excellent advice only what they were saying did not apply to us, so therefore is was not helpful at all. These individuals were giving us advice from God’s Word, but they did not take the time or ask God to provide them with the sensitivity and compassion that was needed to thoroughly understand our situation before offering their advice.
Overwhelmed by suffering, Job was not comforted, but condemned by his friends. Bobby and I have been bewilder by the unbridled fury of the storms in our life, and we too have been shown more condemnation than compassion
As I expressed my frustration, disappointment, and despair concerning a small part of our circumstances, I was met with statements that were cutting, unkind, disrespectful, boisterous and obnoxious. There was nothing kind, gentle, respectful or caring in any of the statements.
In Job 16:1-4 – we read Job’s reply, “I have heard many things like these; miserable comforters are you all! Will your long-winded speeches never end? What ails you that you keep on arguing? I also could speak like you, if you were in my place; I could make fine speeches against you and shake by head at you.”
Bobby and I are extremely aware that only God can bring restoration to our circumstances. We are not looking to anyone for resolution to our suffering but like Job we are looking for encouragement not condemnation.
Job 16:5-6 –“But my mouth would encourage you; comfort from my lips would bring you relief. Yet if I speak, my pain is not relieved; and if I refrain, it does not go away.”
Job’s friends were supposed to be comforting him in his grief. Instead, they condemned him. He called his friends “miserable comforters.”
However, Job does give several ways to become a better comforter to those in pain; 1) do not talk just for the sake of talking; 2) do not sermonize by giving pat answers; 3) do not accuse or criticize; 4) put yourself in the other person’s place and 5) offer help and encouragement. The best comforters are those who know something about personal suffering.