During the first message, Piper reached the section of Job 2 after the sores covered his body...
"What's the result? His wife can't take it anymore...I have a lot of sympathy for this woman. And I think the author and Job do too because of the wording here. I mean, she's just lost her kids, alright? Ten children. And she's watched her husband who valiantly worshiped God be struck with boils. This is not easy. We're going to cut her a lot of slack, right? And if words come out of her mouth...there's this beautiful verse in chapter six that talks about 'words for the wind'. 'Will you judge a man for words that are wind?'
There are a lot of words for the wind in the midst of tragedy. Pastors need to discern what are words for the wind...and he doesn't correct them. He just let's them go off into the wind. He knows they will say better tomorrow."
Then after Job's wife says to curse God and die...
"But he (Job) said to her...now here's what he did not say: 'You are one of the foolish women.' He said: 'You speak as one of the foolish women would speak.' I think that's intentional. Giving her a break. 'You're not one of them, honey! This isn't you!'"
This comment on Job's wife was one of those moments that stick for a long time. All of our group mentioned it later and told of the impact this section of the conference had on us. I will admit...I've never had much sympathy for her. I never put myself in her place. I never cut her much slack. She just went into the category of the three friends and off I'd go until Elihu speaks in chapter 32. How grateful I am for this perspective.
Piper refers to Job 6:26 (NASB)...
I can't do it anymore. I can't. I quit.
I want him gone. I'll never be able to forgive him.
There's no reason for me to even be here any more. I just want the pain to be over.
That's it. Forget it. If this is the kind of God He is...then never mind. I don't want anything to do with him.
And those are just my words. I've heard so many others from women in deep pain...one just yesterday. She can't see the way through. Why would God continue to pour grief upon grief? Nothing is working...it just seems to be getting worse and worse. And God isn't doing anything! If He loved me, wouldn't He do something? Why, Kim? Why isn't He helping me? I don't want to be here. I want this over. I'm so tired. Sobbing followed for long minutes...
Words for the wind. She knows the Lord. She's loved Him and served Him for many decades. She's just overwhelmed...and will be again. The tide did turn during our conversation. I was able to speak gentle truth to her (keeping in mind yesterday's post). I didn't berate her for her words...I just showed her His hand. Reminded her of the Cross and that Jesus is a man acquainted with grief and full of sorrows. That she has a sympathetic High Priest who is able to help her in her time of need. And held her as I said I'm sorry...over and over and over and over...
If the theology continues to be bad in six months or a year when the grief has abated a little? We'll work together to see the Lord clearly. There's time for mourning and words for the wind...there will be a time for laughing and rejoicing in our Father again. I want to be there for both.
And like the words Piper put in Job's mouth...This isn't her. This isn't who she is. She loves the Lord. She trusts Him. How do I know? She belongs to Him. I can remain completely confident not in her, but in God's ability to finish what He began. Did you know that God Himself is bringing her to completion? God Himself will sanctify her completely...her whole soul and body and spirit will be kept blameless until the Day Christ returns. It's true. He wrote it in 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24. And the very last words seal it...He is faithful. He will do it.
It's my job to remain confident in His ability to bring everyone to the end...to see them not for who they are, but for who He is making them to be. To see not their grief, but their hope. Not their windy words, but their final proclamation that Jesus Christ is Lord. All I need to hear is their heart and know these words are a measure of their pain. They are not meant to make me worried, but compassionate...not angry, but seeing to the depths of their suffering and believing for them that He who began this good work is faithful to complete it until He comes again.
Like the friends who lowered their friend on the mat...sometimes in the midst of suffering, it is our faith that makes them well...if I can get out of the way enough...and bring out Jesus enough...and wait with them until the healing of the Lord comes...and let their words go to the wind.