Sunday, September 4, 2016

Left With Nothing But Words

by Danetta Kellar @DanettaKellar

For the ear assesses words as the mouth tastes food. Job 34:3

I have had the unpleasant task of listening to the entire book of Job this month on my audio Bible. Unpleasant because I only like words that are encouraging, make me feel good, and don’t challenge me to think about the God I do not understand. It is one thing to have faith in the God I can reasonably understand, or at least think I can. It is another matter entirely to trust and have faith in God when circumstances swirl around me that I just do not understand and cannot explain.

No, I was not looking forward to listening to Job this month. But because every personality test I take tells me I am a Completer/Finisher, there was no way I would skip it.

The book of Job is a long exposition of destruction and the depression that follows. Its raw honesty stirs a fearful place deep inside me, and makes me wonder if Job’s experience may just be a picture of my own. If not now, maybe soon.

The truth is that Job demands we be honest in our suffering. And maybe that is the real reason we find it uncomfortable.

After the death of all his children and the loss of everything he owned, all Job had left was words. Words in the form of questions, declarations, complaints. His own words and the words of friends. And eventually, the words of God.

The book of Job is a book about the power of words. When one is suffering, the ear is attuned to their power with an excruciating acuteness. A thoughtless word can crush a spirit that is already barely breathing. A word of wisdom can gleam like the blade of a King’s sword during the blow that decides the victory. A word of encouragement can saturate a soul like rain on the hard-cracked plains of Africa after a year of drought.

Yes, it is a certainty that the hurting, broken heart is exquisitely attuned to the power of words.

Job’s patience is shocking as he listens to others’ advice and reasoning, their attempts to comfort as he sits in ashes. Their presumption to understand God’s mind and purpose is equally amazing. On and on they speak, words piling up like rubble.

We wait wondering when God will speak to Job and his friends. Up until now, like observers of a stage act, we have only heard God’s words exchanged with His enemy, Satan. Think about that for a moment.
As Job and his friends agonized over God’s silence, God was speaking. But He was speaking to the enemy who sought to destroy Job. He was engaged with Satan himself, restricting him and forbidding him to take Job’s life.

How often do we wonder
at God's silence while the world
crumbles around us?
How often do we wonder at God’s silence while the world seems to be crumbling around us? Have we considered He may be engaging our enemy and His, commanding the enemy’s boundaries and restrictions in our lives? Our God fights for us when we are hurting. He is skillfully navigating the plans of the destroyer to actually build our character and faith.

Then the Lord spoke to Job out of the storm. (38:1)

He did not wait until the storm stilled. Instead, God spoke out of the storm.

We sat recently in a mighty thunderstorm, lightening striking all around us while we huddled under a shelter by the soccer field. We could not even hear one another speaking. But God, who commands the thunder and lightening, spoke to Job above the din of the storm that destroyed all he loved, above the thunderous crash of Job’s anger, the flashing heat of his despair. When He is done, all Job can say is, “My ears have heard of You but now my eyes have seen You. (42:5)

After God’s words, Job saw his smallness in the shadow of God’s greatness and was smitten to repentance. He was restored. Job’s heart was so completely restored that he prayed for his friends, the misguided ones who had tried but failed to comfort him in his deep sorrow. That is surely evidence of a heart healed by the words of God himself. Remarkably, we read that the latter part of Job’s life was twice as blessed as the first. Job’s journey brought him to a place no one can even imagine exists after loss. Words were Job’s stepping stones through that morass of pain.

I finished Job this time with a new perspective. I am thinking deeply about the words I say, especially to the broken ones I meet along life’s path. I am considering my own suffering and its interpretation of the well-meaning words of loving friends as they try to help and comfort. The truth is, we really do not know what to say when others are sitting in ashes. We do not have the power to explain suffering. It is simply painful and terrible. Sometimes it is better to sit in weeping silence together and wait for God to speak out of the storm. His words restore.

Lord, may the words of my mouth be like comfort food to the hurting  May they satisfy the soul like a stomach filled with contentment and fullness. Amen.

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Left With Nothing But Words - @DanettaKellar (Click to Tweet)

"May the words of my mouth be like comfort food to the hurting." @DanettaKellar (Click to Tweet)

Danetta Kellar is a writer, blogger, and speaker. Her interesting life has taken her around the globe, where she has had the privilege to witness firsthand the transformation of women from all walks of life and culture as they exchange lies for the Truth found in Christ. 

Her writing flows out of this rich experience and her own continual search for treasures in life’s darkness. Connect with Danetta online through her blog, Riches Out of Darkness, and on Facebook, or Twitter. 

6 comments:

  1. Danetta,this is so good. I recently sat down and read through Job. It was a difficult read, but you are right. Words! I cannot begin to tell you how much I appreciated this post. I am sharing this with a friend who needs to hear this, and I am storing it within my heart. Thank you.

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    1. Thank you, Debra. I pray your friend will be strengthened and made able to wait for God in what ever trial being faced right now. Blessings to you.

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  2. Danetta, you found the right words to explain Job. I'll see it differently from now on.
    Thank you.

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    1. I am thankful my words helped you today, Burton. They came to me after much wrestling and pondering. God is faithful beyond our ability to comprehend the trials we face. Blessings to you today.

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  3. Lovely! Much to contemplate here... Thank you, Danetta.

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  4. Danetta, this brought me to tears. Thank you for giving me strength for the journey :)

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