Thursday

For he wounds, but he binds up; he strikes, but his hands heal. (v. 18)

Job 5:8-18 Thursday 30 September 2021

Psalm 104:1-23

Background

Eliphaz, who was one of three friends who sought to console Job, is one very fine preacher. It would have been grand to hear him speak and feel his  sense of conviction and hope. I can find no argument against his encouraging words, but I feel dismayed.  We need to be in the right place, both emotionally and intellectually to hear words of comfort. Eliphaz is perhaps, a better preacher than a pastor.

 Jeremiah noticed this capacity to tell of peace when there is no peace (Jeremiah 6:14). It isn’t that Eliphaz is wrong but he forgets that communication is about listening too. For Job it must have simply added to his misery. 

I feel a challenge here for my own ministry and the Church. Perhaps we are too quick with our well-prepared words to actually be ‘the word’ in the way that Jesus was. How often Jesus asks, ‘"what can I do for you?" It may seem obvious what's needed, but Jesus seems to understand that there is a time to encourage and do, and sometimes it's time to listen and wait and to do so without judgement. Before Jesus explains to the disciples on the road to Emmaus what Scripture is all about, he listens to them speaking of their sadness (Luke 24:13-35). Before he heals blind Bartimaeus he asks him what he wants (Mark 10:46-52). Before he heals the paralysed man, he asks "Do you want to be well?" (John 5:1-8) Salvation requires cooperation; it is a partnership between God and us, and it is not imposed. Good news needs to be, ‘at just the right time’ (Romans 5:6). God is patient with us, always, and does not rush to solve our problems.

 My instinct is to ‘put things right’ and I am uncomfortable when others are in difficulty. I wish they would either sort the problem out or let me help. I am irritable with my own weakness. God isn’t a magician but a Saviour, revealed in Jesus, who is the ‘Word made flesh’, dwelling among us. We don’t offer solutions to the world, but time and presence, and in waiting with others we ‘watch with Christ’ and find him there.

To Ponder:

  • Have you learned anything of God in prayers that are unfulfilled and unanswered?
  • Where have you met God in waiting?
  • When have you waited with someone and how was it?

Prayer

How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I bear pain in my soul,
and have sorrow in my heart all day long?
How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?   (Psalm 13:1-2)

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