October 28, 2008
by Charles R. Swindoll
What Job lacked here in tact, he made up for in total honesty. Frankly, this was no time for tact. Bildad has been brutal. It's doubtful he would even hear if Job had been soft and diplomatic. Job gets tough!
Sores will do that to you. Any nurse will tell you, especially those who work at the bedside of patients in great pain, that tact fades as pain progresses. There's something about the continuation of anguish that finally wears a soul down to raw, red reality.
Many years ago I came across this statement: "Pain plants the flag of reality in the fortress of a rebel heart." Even among those who have been stubborn and rebellious, when pain hits and persists, reality comes in full measure. So it was with Job. He took off the gloves, looked into Bildad's eyes, and said it straight. The man needed that kind of response.
There's a little prayer I'd suggest you repeat each morning.
Lord, help me today not to add to anybody's burden. Help me to bring encouragement to others. Where I can, enable me to comfort. And when I don't know, help me to admit it. When I feel sorrow and sympathy for someone, help me to say that. Help me to lift the load of the hurting, not to add to their burden.
If others are going through an agonizing experience, they need us to be supportive and strong. Bildad never learned that principle; he never prayed that prayer. Too bad.
An intriguing change of roles now occurs. Instead of Bildad teaching Job, Job becomes the teacher. It's almost as if he decides, "Since you don't have any answers, let me tell you about the infinite, incomprehensible God, who hasn't revealed all the whys and wherefores of His activities."
From verse 5 through verse 13 of chapter 26, Job takes Bildad through the paces. He communicates what we would call a fascinating, cosmological explanation. Amazingly, Job starts with the departed spirits of the dead then goes all the way to the top of the universe. In a simple, straightforward manner, Job is saying, "God is in control of every bit of it. He knows about it, He understands it, He is in the midst of it, and He takes full responsibility for all of it. None of it is a surprise to the living God."
Reprinted by permission. Day by Day, Charles Swindoll, July 2005, Thomas Nelson, inc., Nashville, Tennessee. All rights reserved. Purchase "Day by Day" here.