When God Is Bigger Than Bad Theology
Remember: who that was innocent ever perished?
Or where were the upright cut off?. — Job 4:7
So over the next 38 chapters, which occurs over one 24-hour period, we will hear a lot from Job's three friends. Here Eliphaz is the first to speak, and he will speak three different times. His counsel to Job is essentially found in this one verse. The point being — he cannot reconcile the suffering of a righteous man. It just doesn't fit into his theological understanding of God. To him, no innocent man or upright person would ever be cut off from natural blessings. He concludes that unrighteous men are cursed, and righteous men are blessed. Therefore, as a result, he starts to formulate his position — that Job's situation is certainly the result of some wrongdoing he has done which requires repentance from Job.
Honestly, I am not sure I could look Job in the eye and even suggest something like this. Imagine turning to a father who has just lost everything, including ten children, and who is now writhing in pain from boils, saying, "Certainly this is your fault. Repent and return to God!"
In the end, hopefully, we know that righteous people are not excluded from suffering. Case in point — Jesus Christ. He was perfectly righteous and suffered wrong. So basically, we can pitch the idea that righteous people don't suffer. Everyone suffers, even the righteous man.
But there is a bigger application here. Sometimes in suffering, we mistakenly misrepresent God. We put our theological foot in our mouth. We do this by suggesting reasons for another person's suffering. Occasionally this backfires and leads a suffering person further from God rather than closer to Him. Toward the end of this day, we will discover that in suffering, God reveals himself and that he does not need our help. He is the Savior, and we are not. We will also discover that we may not be able to reason God at all.
So, in the end, here is what suffering people need — presence and prayer, not more bad theology.
ASK THIS: Who do you know that suffering?
DO THIS: Call and pray for them today, but don't preach!
PRAY THIS: God, help me to serve _____________________ today.
PLAY THIS: Lord, I Need You.
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