(Today's post by Tim David)
As I’ve read this passage a few times yesterday seeing what God would lay on my mind, I found myself struggling. Then I remembered an interview I was on recently and I was asked why I left that first church God put me at. If asked that question back then, I could have told you every issue that church and their deacon board had that led to “me” deciding it was time to move on. But the “father of three,” having been pushed, prodded and pulled through this life by an ever-patient, loving Father, knew the answer that life had taught him. He was immature in life and they, well they had their issues that God would deal with them about. Maturity – it’s only something that can come with living life. I can chuckle now, after a recent conversation I had with our head pastor recounting a young man who came to visit my wife and I when we lost our second unborn child. Thankfully, he had a lot more maturity than I did at his age – because he recognized he didn’t have any sage words of wisdom for us – he hadn’t experienced anything close to what we were going through. Laughing, I told Scott how uncomfortable he was, but how proud I was that he stood there and allowed life to happen in front of him.
It’s uncomfortable watching someone grieve or question God. We want to have that right word of comfort that will immediately strike a chord and resolve life. Better yet, we want to have just the right scripture that will convict that wayward spiritual sibling. Spiritual maturity is gained just the same way emotion maturity does – it is earned. It is earned by living life. I ask the question – Were Elihu’s conclusions wrong? For the most part – he think was “technically” right on. Was Elihu completely off in his application? Absolutely! What stuck out was verse 2….”let me go on, and I will show you the truth. For I have not finished defending God!” Who was he to defend God???? Who are any of us to defend God?
I know there are some “possibly, well-intentioned” folks who are getting really upset right now; but I want to tell you – God is enough and doesn’t need you defending Him! That being said, and I guess this is the distinction in Job’s case, if there is a “sibling” who you know is off-course – say something…but for God’s sake, do it out of love! This is what I don’t see in either chapters 36 or 37. Elihu didn’t care – he just let words fly…now they’re recorded for all of history to see. My opinion here is, think twice as often as you open your mouth. Is what you have to say really important enough for the words to exit your lips. Once they cross into open air – they can’t be taken back.
My takeaways are these:
1. If you see someone who is off and you have been put in a position to help them – do so cautiously, reverently, lovingly as God has asked you to. You don’t, however, have to always be that person with a verse. It is okay to not have anything to say, and simply pray and let them know you are supporting them. You aren’t the Holy Spirit, God already has one of those and He doesn’t need another one.
2. If you’ve been hurt by someone either well-intentioned or not who just dropped a spiritual “load of bricks,” let it go and give it back to God. Remember, they just don’t have the maturity to know better. God is all you need in life – really, I can say that…I have some maturity now. Don’t allow Satan to hurt you any more than he already has, give that pain over to God for your own good.
Be careful with the weapons (both spiritual and emotional) that God has given you…they can hurt both friend and foe- which are you fighting today?