How will people around Job speak and act in the face of such misery? Repetitive circle. Job speaks, a friend speaks, Job replies, etc. Nothing new after chapter 5.
What to say when you suffer (3:1-26)
It’s ok to wish you’d never been born. Sometimes life feels so bitter that you feel it would be better if you didn’t exist.
It’s ok to wish you were dead. This book is written just from the perspective of living in this world. Job says the appearance of the dead is peaceful.
It’s ok to ask ‘why?’
It’s not ok to try to kill yourself. Job isn’t willing to kill himself. His conviction is that life isn’t for him to take at his will but for God to take at his will. It’s not an unforgivable sin. It’s a wicked thing to do.
It’s not ok to complain about God. Job says hard things to God , not about God. Often we complain about God like he’s not listening.
It’s not ok to curse God.
Remember you will probably fail when you’re suffering. Jesus fulfils perfectly what Job anticipates for us.
What to say when others suffer (4:1-5:27)
Our unenviable record…
Eliphaz’s first mistake:
He thinks his desire to speak means he ought to speak. Pride is always unwilling to confess ignorance. He’s certain he knows the answers.
Eliphaz’s second mistake:
He thinks ‘what you sow you reap’ equals ‘what you reap you sowed’. It’s not true that if something had happens to you that you have sowed something bad. God knows the reason. We need to do what Job does and trust him.
Eliphaz’s third mistake:
Someone upright did perish. It’s wrong to link a person’s suffering with their sin. If you have a problem with the idea of innocent suffering, you can’t be a Christian. That’s the whole idea of Christianity. Jesus suffered to prove God will overturn all evil powers.
Say nothing. Job’s friends were most helpful when they said nothing.
If you have to speak, still say nothing. Trust them to ask for the right advice at the right time. Wait.
Say as little as possible. It’s ok to convey that you’re shocked.
Remember we’re souls and bodies.
It doesn’t get better.
Expect to get it wrong and look to the innocent sufferer. Jesus is also the one whose suffering means we can be forgiven for all the dumb stuff we’ve said in the past and will do in the future.