Thought for the day: Advice. Who do you go to for advice? Why? We all have that person, or people, we seek advice from when we are at a crossroads. The real question is: do you follow their advice? It has worked both ways for me. There are a handful of people who I go to. And by handful, I mean less than five. God is included in that count. Sometimes I listen and follow, other times…. Perhaps I didn’t like what they said (including God), so, I did my own thing anyway. You? I’m pretty sure, our stories of doing our own thing all turned out similar. Difficult, and stressful. Can you relate? Why, do we do that? Two words: pride, easy. Our pride that we know best gets in the way, and we want an easy, comfortable, life. Yet, we get the opposite. You? There was a man that at every trun in his life sought advice from God. Moses. He led the Israelites out of Egypt. No simple task. Throughout the Book of Exodus we can read over and over, he cried put to God. May we take his example and when we cry out to God for advice, DO what He says. “Then Moses cried out to the LORD,… So Moses did this…” Ex. 17:5-6 #spreadthewordacrosstheglobe #advicelistenanddo
“If only you could be silent! That’s the wisest thing you could do.” Job. 13:5 NLT
I say that with the utmost respect and love. If you have ever went through a hard, difficult, or challenging time in your life you may be able to relate. During that time, friends tend to move in closer and attempt to provide comfort in the best way they know how. Without realizing it, they become Dr. Phil, Dr. Oz, or Dr. Freud offering a list of to-do, and reasons why your situation may be happening. I’ve been known to morph into one of them myself. In the beginning it may appear comforting because your life is in turmoil and you are searching for a solution, or way out. There is a person that lived, according to my study bible notes, in approximately 2000BC. (New Living Translation Study Bible). That would be about 4000+ years ago from today. His name was Job. One day his life was turned upside down! His Dr. Phil, Dr. Oz, and Dr. Freud were named – Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathie. They were – his friends.
The Book of Job starts with pointing out Job’s character, “He was blameless – a man of complete integrity.” (Job 1:1b NLT). By no means am I blameless, I have certainly made my share of mistakes. Some days they just seem to happen like dominos falling. Unlike Job my bio would not begin with “blameless, and complete integrity.”
Job was known to be wealthy, and highly respected in the community. Chapters one and two reveal the destruction that Job endured. In a short period of time he lost everything. He lost: his home, children, servants, livestock, and his health. But, he did not lose his wife, life, or his friends. At the end of chapter two his friends had heard of Job’s calamity, and immediately came to his aid. The bible says, “They met together to offer sympathy and comfort, they wept aloud, they stayed with him for seven days and nights – not saying a word.” (Job 2: 11-13). Sometimes that’s all we need, is someone to just be there when we are going through a difficult time, challenge, or hardship. The best remedy can be to just be with us.
This is the second in a mini-series for those of us that are going through a rough time. We feel like we were on a mountain top then life pushed us off, and sent us sledding down the mountain right into the valley. In the first blog, Life in the Valley, I addressed feeling like your suffering was punishment. We discovered our God is a gracious, merciful, and forgiving God. If you still have your chair pulled up let’s talk about those that give us input to our situation. I don’t know about you, but when I am going through a hard time, when things feel really overwhelming, and there are unanswered questions – I retreat into my own little world. My mind becomes pre-occupied. I like to be around my friends, so my mind has a break from my circumstance. What about you? Can you relate? Sometimes though when we are with others, and we voice our concern for our situation, or share what’s on our minds and hearts, the need to give advice comes running back towards us.
Does this sound familiar? “However, if I were you;” “We have investigated this;” “But, if you;” “If you;” “As for you, if you;” “if there’s” (Job 5:8; 8:5-6; 11:13-14). If so, you are not alone. Job heard those words from his friends. As he continued to search for answers to the devastation he was living in, his friends continue with “But you;” “Your;” and my favorite “Listen to me, and I will inform you” (Job 15: 4, 5, 17 NLT). Whew! I have to admit some of my friends are not that extreme. For that I am grateful! There are others that feel the need to try to fix, direct, and act as a personal advisor. When our emotions are heightened due to our situation the slightest comment can send us reeling. Which makes me at times want to say “If only you could be silent!” (Job 15:5a NLT) Perhaps I have at times said that. Have you? How well did it go over? I have to say hopefully none of us repeated Job, “You all are miserable comforters.” (Job 16:2b HCSB). Yikes! Talk about backlash!
There’s a saying that “when you are down the only thing left is up” (unknown). I must admit I am not in the same situation as Job, and I am ever so grateful to God for that! I hope you are not either. But, that does not mean we are not sitting in a valley due to unemployment, loss of your home, finances, or any number of things that can crush the spirit. We sit, we feel defeated, and if your situation has not turned around you may feel like you are sitting in quicksand. I imagine that’s how Job felt when he said, “I was at ease, but He shattered me; He seized me by the scruff of the neck and smashed me to pieces. He set me up as his target.” Job (16:12 HCSB). We may feel like we are all alone; even with friends around us. Chuck Swindoll quotes A.Z. Tozer, “It is in the lonely solitude that God delivers His best thoughts, and the mind needs to be still and quiet to receive them.” Swindoll, Quest for Character.
Friends, as we sit in our new places of uncomfortable, unknown, and unrelenting to grasp and experience the true meaning of Psalm 46:10 “Be still, and know that I am God!” at times we may need to whisper the words of Job “If only you could be silent!” (Job 13:5).
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