Being at the bottom is crappy. You’re stuck down there and to make it even better you’re alone. So, what do normal people do when they are alone?? You bring people with you. In Job’s case, he brought his closest friends with him. Now, who you bring with you is important. You need to bring people who are going to be honest with you, but most importantly who will not coddle you. Yes, I said it. You need people who are not going to wallow with you. You need someone who is going to be realistic with you. I’m not saying you need to bring some pessimistic or negative people who see the worst in things because that would make it worse. But you need to bring people who will bring sympathy but will also bring honesty and a new outlook on the situation. If you just bring people in who are going to further allow you to stay in the bottom, you will never be able to look up to God and get to the top again.
Now in Job’s case, he had three friends who were there to help but maybe could have worded their opinions a bit differently. His friends Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar all come to give him sympathy but then begin to impart their own advice. Let’s look into the two approaches they give into helping their friend and how this relates to life at the bottom.
Being silent but bringing sympathy
“Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights. No one said a word to him, because they saw how great his suffering was” Job 2:13 (NIV)
Sometimes this is helpful. When you first bring people into your dark place you simply just need them to listen to you. You don’t need them to impart their own advice. You just need someone who is going to be there with you for a little bit and cry with you and simply let you know that as a friend, they are there for you.
Now here’s when it gets a little tricky. Yes, your friends love you and they hate to see you down there alone. Job’s friends sat there with him for seven days a cried with and for him. But after that, they began to impart their own wisdom as to why he might be in this predicament.
Now they came up with three very interesting observations
· God doesn’t make mistakes
· People reap what they sow
· Start blaming Job
Now the first one is true, right? God doesn’t make mistakes. This is a very true statement that at the time Job might not have wanted to hear. I don’t think any of us would want to hear something like that when we are at the bottom. The main reason we don’t want to hear that is because it feels like a mistake. It feels like God has abandoned us and made a mistake by allowing us to fall down to the very bottom and giving us no way to escape.
The second one, might not have been the best choice of words for Eliphaz at the time:
“Consider now: Who, being innocent, has ever perished? Where were the upright ever destroyed? As I have observed, those who plow evil and those who sow trouble reap it" Job 4:7-8 (NIV)
When you think about it, this also kind of makes sense right? Those who are innocent are normally not punished. So, it’s kind of like why is Job who was done no wrong been punished for no reason. In order to find the reasoning for the problem, Eliphaz says this. But that’s the problem with Job 4:8. Eliphaz and Job’s other friends are trying to find a reason for why this has happened. That’s simply human nature. We always try to find the reasoning in what happens, when sometimes God doesn’t want us to. He just wants to see if we are going to trust him and believe that he is there with us and he is not going to let us down. So, when we are at the bottom we have two options: come to the understanding that God is with us and confess that we put our trust in him or go to people who may have good intentions but not always the best solution? Which will you choose??