Do I Really Need to Have All the Answers?

I’m reading the book of Job. I’m at the part where his windbag friends take turns giving lengthy speeches. Poor Job is heartbroken over the deaths of his children and the loss of his business. Sick, in pain and depressed, Job becomes upset with God. He’s tried to figure out why everything’s been taken away from him. But he can’t.

His self-righteous friends claim to have all the answers. One by one they disappoint Job. He needs a shoulder to cry on, friends to listen as he pours out anguish from his soul. His friends don’t want to listen, they want to talk. They want to have the last word on why Job’s in the miserable condition he’s in.

Job’s comforters increased his sadness. Many times I’ve been too quick to figure out the “problem” and not quick enough to realize that a hurting friend needs me to listen, listen to why they feel abandoned by God. And if they slander God while I’m listening, does He really need me to protect His reputation? No. I can listen to a suffererer’s rants against God without interrupting to speak on God’s behalf.

A soul in pain expresses itself in laments. Lament often comes before healing or acceptance. I first realized this a few years ago when a friend expressed her disappointment in God  to me. She used strong language, words that some might say are offensive to God. She was speaking to me but it was if I was eavesdropping while she gave God a piece of her mind.

My friend was honest about how she felt. It took many months but she eventually worked things out with God. Reading Job’s story again reminded me that the best gift I can give a friend in pain is a closed mouth and an open ear.

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About rosemccormickbrandon

An award winning personal experience writer, Rose McCormick Brandon is a frequent contributor to faith magazines, devotionals and compilations, including Chicken Soup for the Soul. Rose is the author of Promises of Home: Stories of Canada's British Home Children (2014). One Good Word Makes all the Difference (2013), He Loves Me Not, He Loves Me (2012) and Vanished: What Happened to My Son. She's a frequent contributor to The Testimony, Today's Pentecostal Evangel and other faith magazines in Canada, U.S. and Australia. Rose also writes about Canadian history, specifically the era of Child Immigration from Britain. Read her stories of child immigrants at: http://littleimmigrants.wordpress.com
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3 Responses to Do I Really Need to Have All the Answers?

  1. vanyieck says:

    By the end of the book, Job is commended by God, even after saying all those terrible things. Job’s friends are commanded to ask Job to offer sacrifices on their behalf. Why? While Job’s friends spoke about God, Job spoke to God. Job never forgot that even through the pain and disappointment, the relationship is the thing.

  2. Anne Laidlaw says:

    Thanks, Rose. I felt God chasten me for trying to work out answers when there were none.
    blessings, anne

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