“Truly then you are the people,
And with you wisdom will die!
“But I have intelligence as well as you;
I am not inferior to you.
And who does not know such things as these?
“I am a joke to my friends,
The one who called on God and He answered him;
The just and blameless man is a joke.
“He who is at ease holds calamity in contempt,
As prepared for those whose feet slip.
“The tents of the destroyers prosper,
And those who provoke God are secure,
Whom God brings into their power…
“With Him are wisdom and might;
To Him belong counsel and understanding.
“Behold, He tears down, and it cannot be rebuilt;
He imprisons a man, and there can be no release.
“Behold, He restrains the waters, and they dry up;
And He sends them out, and they inundate the earth.
“With Him are strength and sound wisdom,
The misled and the misleader belong to Him.
“He makes counselors walk barefoot….”
“Behold, my eye has seen all this,
My ear has heard and understood it.
“What you know I also know;
I am not inferior to you.
“But I would speak to the Almighty,
And I desire to argue with God.
“But you smear with lies;
You are all worthless physicians.
“O that you would be completely silent,
And that it would become your wisdom!
“Please hear my argument
And listen to the contentions of my lips.
“Will you speak what is unjust for God,
And speak what is deceitful for Him?
“Will you show partiality for Him?
Will you contend for God?
“Will it be well when He examines you?
Or will you deceive Him as one deceives a man?
“He will surely reprove you
If you secretly show partiality.
“Will not His majesty terrify you,
And the dread of Him fall on you?
“Your memorable sayings are proverbs of ashes,
Your defenses are defenses of clay…
“Be silent before me so that I may speak;
Then let come on me what may.
“Why should I take my flesh in my teeth
And put my life in my hands?
“Though He slay me,
I will hope in Him….”
Oh, how I can relate to Job these days–his friends and family so chock full of well-meaning advice, so sure they know what God’s reasons and purposes are for his sufferings, trying so hard to convince him of his own folly and the heights of their “wisdom.” So convinced that they know better or can interpret God’s will for him; and spouting the obvious as if he is too stupid or depraved to think things out on his own. They are letting their ego and arrogance and self-righteous presumption show regardless of their protestations of good intentions and concern for his welfare. Even if their intentions are solid gold – they need to spend some time pondering the wisdom of not stating the obvious or telling someone something they already know!
Job is fed up to his eyeballs here with the generous helpings of misguided “wisdom.” He gets a little sarcastic with them:
Modern translation: Oh, yeah–you’re all so smart. What would the world do without you to direct the sunrise? Ha — You think you know it all and civilization would fall apart without you, that you possess the last living brain cell in the world? What a joke! I didn’t just fall off the turnip truck, I wasn’t just born yesterday. I’m a pretty smart guy myself and I can see what’s going on here no matter what you try to pass off as “constructive criticism” and “helpful advice.” I know you don’t believe that I am as faithful as I think I am and that I have brought this on myself. You snicker behind your hand at “how the mighty have fallen” and consider it my comeuppance from God for some imagined failure. You sit there in your comfortable homes, with your health, your family and your finances relatively intact and cluck your tongues at those who are undergoing a crisis, rubbing it in in the name of “Christian concern,” assuming somehow that your relative ease in comparison means you are more favored of God than I am because of my troubles and that gives you the right in your own mind to offer unsolicited advice and expect me to be in eternal awe of your wisdom and run to comply with your manmade “wisdom” with abject obeisance and servile gratitude that demeans me and acknowledges and reinforces your elevated perceptions of your own superiority.
Yeah – get over yourself already. You aren’t that special! Wisdom, knowledge and power lie only with God. He does what He wants for His own reasons and my good and none of us can explain it to Him for His ways and thoughts are so much higher than we can possibly comprehend. You cannot accomplish even a fraction of the mighty works He can complete with a single word, without even raising a sweat. You think I don’t know this, that somehow my crisis has revealed some kind of deeply rooted mental impairment that means I can’t possibly think for myself. Think again. I know everything you know and I am no less intelligent or important to God than you are. If you have thought of it, I probably have too, as well as seventeen people before who felt it necessary to press their “surefire cure” on me. I have all the same information you have so please stop acting like I am an imbecile who is bumbling through life blithely unaware, too stupid to know what is happening to him.
I’ll take my case up with God personally rather than listen to you defame my character because of misguided and prideful assumptions about me. Don’t take up medicine — your cures are useless. You really ought to take Solomon’s advice: “Even a fool, when he keeps silent, is considered wise; When he closes his lips, he is considered prudent.” (Proverbs 17:28) Don’t presume to speak for God on my behalf! Do you really think it will go any better for you than me when you stand before God? You think you can gild your lily and deceive Him with heavy handed words as you are trying to do with me? All your words and high thoughts of yourself and your presumption of self-righteous superiority will be as ash and dust, ground into powder before Him. Stop talking to hear the sound of your own voice and let me get a word in edgewise. For once, actually LISTEN to me and then I will let God decide my fate because it is in His hands, NOT yours!
“Though He slay me,
I will hope in Him….”
Being in crisis, as my family has been, is like bringing home a new baby for the first time or trying to lose weight. EVERYONE has an opinion and feels free to share it, regardless of whether it’s asked for or not. But the surefire best way according to one person, will be completely refuted by the next person who swears that method A will spell doom and destruction and their way is the only valid, scientific, safe way. After awhile, I just have to politely stop listening to all the input to keep from being well-meaned to death, and just do it my way, what works for me; because honestly, most of these matters do NOT have one correct solution. Even if doctors and experts are recommending or warning against a certain method today — just wait 5, 10, 30 years.They will have made new discoveries or come around to a completely opposite philosophy and refute what they said before. It’s a ridiculous cycle that will drive a person insane if they take all the advice too seriously and get all up in arms about all the conflicting suggestions.
So while I know people mean well, and I would never try to be rude or hurt their feelings on purpose, please don’t take it personally if I don’t fall over myself running to embrace every suggestion and piece of advice — or if sometimes, I seem a bit put out or frustrated with your latest brainstorm of advice and “have you tried….?” questions. At this point honestly, you are probably the 87th person who has told or asked me the same thing and I am frankly sick and tired of explaining things to people, no matter what their intentions are. For the most part I love y’all and I know you love me…..but there honestly is nothing new under the sun.
Job’s friends overloaded him with advice and the same thing still happens today when tragedy and crisis strikes. But also, there are only certain things that can be done to course correct our family situation and only certain resources that actually actively help and don’t just point fingers. The course correction is a long, slow, tedious process that just has to be walked through. There are no shortcuts because the “system” doesn’t work like most people seem to think it does….even if in some cases, it really should. But there are no magic answers. I have put all available processes in motion to move us forward — it may not look like it to you because this train moves like a turtle in heavy mud after a torrential rain.
There gets to be a point at which being the squeaky wheel and assertive about motivating the help system becomes wasted effort. They are either going to help me or they aren’t; and they aren’t going to move any faster just because I want them to. I just have jump through all the hoops. Then when I have done all I can, I just have to be patient and wait for the the excruciatingly slow wheels to grind. If I was spending all my time and emotional energy trying to force a rock to move that absolutely will not move until it is good and ready to move, I wouldn’t have time or energy left for anything else, important things–and my kids are at the top of that list. Yes, they need me to keep trying until we get a breakthrough, but they also need me to be there for regular mom things too.
So unless someone comes up with an actually new idea AND really wants to listen to what I’ve already done and recognize how many plates I have already got spinning and that I am aware of our situation and not sitting back waiting for fairy godmother handouts, I would really rather not have this situation dominate every conversation, email and text. It’s not that I am giving up or lying down — most of the time, I have jumped in, taken care of my part post haste and batted the ball back into someone else’s court because I am a person of action, not procrastination, especially when it comes to the welfare of my family.
The continuous stream of “have you tried..?, Are you sure…?, You need to try again. Maybe you didn’t say it right. You need to call again. What about this…? Did you see this info….? Well, maybe you need to consider other options. It’s only temporary. You can come back later when things get stabilized.” is incredibly stressful and draining. “But isn’t this better than that even if it isn’t what you want?” Ummmm—NO, actually it’s not; and not because I am being stubborn and unrealistic like many people think.
Funny thing about this whole thing is that my communication lines with GOD are open like a floodgate — more than ever before in my life. We talk everyday, throughout the day and while I am sleeping sometimes even! So I know that I know that I know exactly what God is asking me to do and it is most definitely not the easy, obvious route. But it is the best because He is good and He is good FOR me! If I say no to a suggestion, chances are it is because what you are suggesting has already been tried and there’s a closed door or GOD has clearly told me, “No, that’s not the way. I have something better in mind.” So I’m going with that plan no matter how many people think that there has to be a better way because GOD knows more than any of us or all of us put together. I’m 200% sure that no plan we could devise would dare hold a candle to His!
So I am spending an inordinate amount of time in hurry up and wait mode. I am not doing nothing but no matter how hard and frustrating it is, I have to relax and let the bureaucratic processes grind slowly through. I want solutions more than anyone else – except maybe my kids. But if I let frustration and impatience rule the day, I will find myself doing something stupid and committing to unsustainable and unwise solutions and we will end up in a worse place than where we started. If I am going to go to all this effort, I am going to wait as long as it takes to find the right solution that works for us and trust that God is my Champion and Protector!
“I am certain that [my] God, who began the good work within [me], will be faithful to continue His work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” Philippians 1:6
“Be strong and courageous for the LORD your GOD will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
“I am not ashamed for I know in Whom I have believed and am convinced that He is able to guard that which I have entrusted to Him until that day.” 2 Timothy 1:12
Music video by MercyMe performing Finish What He Started. (C) 2014 MercyMe