Teach me, and I will be silent;
make me understand how I have gone wrong.
How forceful are honest words!
But your reproof, what does it reprove?”
Every now and then I find myself working away, when for no apparent reason, I get an incomprehensible ERROR message—something like “The operation can’t be completed because an unexpected error occurred (error code = 50).” Talk about overstating the obvious! Clearly, there’s a problem. But what have I done to cause it and how can it be fixed? That’s when things get frustrating, because now I’m searching for answers from people who clearly don’t think or talk like me. My impatience skyrockets. I feel stupid and helpless and, frankly, disrespected. If someone would simply explain what’s gone wrong in layman’s terms, I’d know how to rectify my predicament. But how do I fix my situation if I can’t make any sense of the message?
That’s where we find Job this week. After he’s lost everything except his life, three friends drop by to sit with him. They wait for him to start the conversation, which begins with something we can all relate to: I wish I’d never been born! The first of his friends, Eliphaz, jumps in, no doubt feeling good about the advice he’s offering. Yet it only frustrates Job more. All of Eliphaz’s talk about God’s supreme wisdom and power and human inadequacy doesn’t compute. It’s like those ERROR messages, only worse, because Job’s life crashed, not his laptop.
Not all God-talk is good talk. Sometimes people get so busy defending God they miss what’s really needed: a shoulder to lean on or an honest friend who says, “I don’t get it either.” This week’s look at Job’s dilemma continues with what will be a very long and complicated chat. As we eavesdrop on Job and his buddies, I believe we’ll also find tools for dealing with ERROR messages that frustrate our own faith—as well as wisdom about how to avoid the kind of God-talk that isn’t good talk.
The conversation starts this Thursday at 7:30p CST on Zoom. Click below to join in. I look forward to seeing everyone there!
Peace and blessings,