Then Bildad the Shuhite replied:
2 “How long will you say such things?
Your words are a blustering wind.
3 Does God pervert justice?
Does the Almighty pervert what is right?
4 When your children sinned against him,
he gave them over to the penalty of their sin.
5 But if you will seek God earnestly
and plead with the Almighty,
6 if you are pure and upright,
even now he will rouse himself on your behalf
and restore you to your prosperous state.
7 Your beginnings will seem humble,
so prosperous will your future be…
In the above passage Job’s friend Bildad is responding to Job’s suffering in the only way he knows how. He is seeing through his lense. He is pulling on the information that he has thus far acquired in his life journey and offering that as a resolution. The only problem, is he is wrong.
Bildad had never been through anything Job was going through at the time, thus he was not qualified to offer advise or counsel or insight. Unfortunately he was not wise enough not to know this. And so he spoke out of his ignorance. He put the blame on Job. He made it seem like it was something Job had done to experience all of this loss. That is the deception in religion. It puts the burden on the person, instead of giving it back to Christ to carry for us…(Matthew 11:30).
In this difficult season I have been navigating I’m so grateful to have people around me, friends around me, who are nothing like Job’s friends. They do not speak on areas they are not familiar with. We have all had our difficulties, but none of us are the same. I have never been through a divorce or faced a physical life threatening illness or lost a child. And so it would be inappropriate for me to speak on these things. And even if I had gone through these things I would have had my own experience with them, so what may have helped me through those hardships may not help another person. My counselor told me something similar recently: we are all different and no two people respond the same to similar circumstances.
I remember the morning of her funeral, 5 women were in my home, waiting. They were silent. They were silent because they were sensitive to my needs. And really, what could be said? They sat in silence as we road in the limo. And I felt very much like none of this was happening. Like I was watching everything happen around me but I wasn’t really apart of it.
Job’s friends were silent initially. They were silent for 7 days and then they opened their mouths and spoke about things they knew nothing about. I’m glad that was not my experience. How painful is it to endure such difficult circumstances and then on top of that to feel condemned and accused and persecuted from your loved ones?
I have had some experiences where selfishness and judgement have been tossed my way and it has been hurtful. But even those experiences have been few and far between and never from my core circle. For that I am grateful.
I also know there have been times I have been the judge. I have been the one condemning and pointing the finger and saying the wrong thing. I’m grateful for a repentant heart and an increase in self awareness. I’m grateful for growth.
Pain is a delicate thing. And when faced with it hearts are tender and should be handled carefully.
I was told last night from a new friend that I am a safe place for him. He has been through lots of pain and I am honored to be a safe place for someone who has experienced that much pain.
But I know to be safe has to be learned. I learned it from the women around me and from Holy Spirit using them.
They are nothing like Job’s friends…