“Oh that my vexation were weighed, and all my calamity laid in the balances! 3 For then it would be heavier than the sand of the sea; therefore my words have been rash. 4 For the arrows of the Almighty are in me; my spirit drinks their poison; the terrors of God are arrayed against me.
10 This would be my comfort; I would even exultin pain unsparing, for I have not denied the words of the Holy One.
14 “He who withholds kindness from a friend forsakes the fear of the Almighty.
When listening to a despairing person, we should remember three things. First, they speak rashly because their emotions are raw. We shouldn’t pick apart their words. Second, we should commend their faith when it is expressed (v. 10). Instead, some Christians tend to latch on to the negative and try to fix it for them. This tendency comes across as unkindness. Rather, and number three, we should show kindness to the despairing by listening, speaking rarely and gently, and serving.
Father, teach us kindness.
Psalm 104:4 (NASB)
…he makes his messengers winds, his ministers a flaming fire.
“If one ventures a word with you, will you become impatient? But who can refrain from speaking? Behold, you have taught many, And you have strengthened weak hands. Your words have helped the stumbling to stand, And you have strengthened feeble knees. But now it comes to you, and you are impatient; It touches you, and you are horrified. Is your fear of God not your confidence, And the integrity of your ways your hope? “Remember now, who ever perished being innocent? Or where were the upright destroyed? According to what I have seen, those who plow wrongdoing And those who sow trouble harvest it. By the breath of God they perish, And by the blast of His anger they come to an end.
Job’s friends began well by sitting with him in silence for seven days, but once Job spoke, they decided they must respond. It takes arrogance to debate theology with a suffering person. Silence and presence is a better option.
Here we see the assumptions held by Job’s friends. They were sure Job must have fallen somehow. They would attack the sincerity of his faith. After all, in their view, only the guilty would suffer. In every one of their assumptions, they were wrong.
Father, our world is feeled with hurting people. Teach us to minister to them with compassion.
Psalm 103:10-12 (NASB)
He has not dealt with us according to our sins, Nor rewarded us according to our guilty deeds. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him. As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our wrongdoings from us.
For what I fear comes upon me, And what I dread encounters me. I am not at ease, nor am I quiet, And I am not at rest, but turmoil comes.”
While suffering horribly, Job wished he had never seen life. One can both say “blessed be the name of the Lord” and feel despair. The statement represents our theological foundation of belief in God’s goodness. The feelings are a response to circumstances. Job was endanger of being overwhelmed by his feelings, but would not be in his situation? His faith remained, and at different points in this book, it would shine through his pain.
Father, sometimes feelings overwhelm me. I look at circumstances and feel the rush of worry and depression come over me. When I slip, help me stand on the foundation of Your name and character.
Psalm 102:25-27 (NASB)
In time of old You founded the earth, And the heavens are the work of Your hands. Even they will perish, but You endure; All of them will wear out like a garment; Like clothing You will change them and they will pass away. But You are the same, And Your years will not come to an end.
There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job; and that man was blameless, upright, fearing God and turning away from evil.
What kind of person am I? Am I blameless and upright? Do I fear God? Do I turn away from evil every time I see it? Am I the sort of person God would point out? Would He boast about me to Satan? Would Satan have noticed me already? Job was all that by God’s grace. I hope to be conformed to the image of Christ that I might be as well.
Father, conform me to the image of Jesus. Help me to be like Him..
Psalm 101:1 (NASB)
I will sing of mercy and justice; To You, Lord, I will sing praises.