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suffering

I’m not a psychologist or a psychiatrist. But I do have one observation from the story of Job: Face your depression honestly.

Job did not hide his feelings. It was his honesty about his feelings that ultimately brought him back to health. He refused to bury it before God and anybody that would listen. When he finally hit it, he just let it all out and expressed what was going on in his heart. Honesty’s always the best policy.

In Job 7:11 he says this: "Therefore I will not restrain my mouth; I will speak in the anguish of my spirit; I will complain in the bitterness of my soul.

He’s not putting a spin on his walk with God. He’s in a dark place and he acknowledges it.
Sometimes your silent presence is the best help.

When Job is suffering disease and his three friends, Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar, make an appointment to come and see Job, supposedly to encourage him (2:11). And they came and sat in Job’s presence for seven days and seven nights without saying one word (2:13).

Later on, Job remembers those days with fondness as Eliphaz turns to sarcasm and logic in a misguided attempt to help his friend. In Job 13:5 he tells Eliphaz, “Oh that you would be silent, and it would be your wisdom!” (Job 13:5).

Above all, when we are hurting, we need love and encouragement, not logic. You need your friends to pick you up. Proverbs 17:17 says, “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.”

Paul put it this way in 1 Corinthians 13:1, “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.”

The day Eliphaz came to see Job he was a sounding brass and a clanging cymbal. It wasn’t what Job needed at all. He didn’t need sarcasm, he needed support. He didn’t need Eliphaz’ logic, he needed his love.
C. S. Lewis said pain is God’s megaphone to arouse a deaf world. Which is essentially what Elihu tells Job in Job 33:19-22. Have you ever had God talk to you through pain? I know I have. Some of the best messages—the ones that are indelibly etched upon your soul—come at times of adversity.

In the passage, Elihu describes a sick man suffering on his bed, wasting away because he has no appetite. But this man is suffering because God wants to get his attention. So he says, “Job, listen now. I want you to get this. Sometimes God speaks through suffering. Job, did you hear His voice in your suffering?”
It is true that all suffering is the result of sin if you go all the way back to the Garden of Eden. There would be no suffering today if Adam and Eve had not sinned. But all particular suffering is not the result of particular sin. That’s the critical thing. And that’s what Eliphaz missed when he spoke to Job. Job was suffering but it wasn’t because of some particular sin that he committed. Was he suffering because of sin? Yes, because sin is a part of the world that was introduced in the Garden of Eden. It is true to say that all suffering is the result of sin. It is totally untrue to say that any particular suffering is the result of some particular sin. And what Eliphaz was saying to Job was, “Job, if you’ll comb through your history, you’ll find the awful things that you did that made it necessary for God to make you suffer like you are suffering.” And that was wrong.

Don’t ever go there. First of all, it demands an omniscience you don’t have. Known unto God are the secret things and you don’t know those secret things. Eliphaz’ first mistake was that he made all suffering the result of sin.
Your questions on SUFFERING:
  • How did Job deal with depression?
  • How do I help a hurting friend?
  • Why do we suffer?
  • Is suffering the result of sin?

Resources from Dr. Jeremiah

2 Great Resources

God's Promises for When You Are Hurting God's Promises For When You Are Hurting provides Scriptures and words of hope, organized into topics, that will sustain your heart and soul through to better days ahead. Tried, Tested, & Triumphant set Find strength for every situation you face in the Tried, Test, & Triumphant resource set featuring the 15 message series on the book of Job.