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Instead of writing a long blog post of my own, I offer you two biblical excerpts from Elihu’s speeches to Job after Job’s ignorant friends had tried to share their human wisdom with him who would suffer a lot. Sometimes we cannot understand why God lets us suffer without telling us WHY and HOW LONG it might take. But there must be a reason why suffering is necessary in our lives, even if we cannot see the reason right now. Here is wisdom that Elihu, inspired by the Holy Spirit, suggested to Job on (1) ‘How does God make us hear Him?’ and on (2) ‘Why does He not answer us as we expect Him to do?’

(1) How does God make us hear Him?

He delivers the afflicted by their affliction and opens their ear by adversity.

He also allured you out of distress into a broad place where there was no cramping, and what was set on your table was full of fatness. “But you are full of the judgment on the wicked; judgment and justice seize you. Beware lest wrath entice you into scoffing and let not the greatness of the ransom turn you aside.

Will your cry for help avail to keep you from distress, or all the force of your strength? Do not long for the night, when peoples vanish in their place. Take care; do not turn to iniquity, for this you have chosen rather than affliction.

Behold, God is exalted in his power; who is a teacher like him? Who has prescribed for him his way, or who can say, ‘You have done wrong’?” (Job 36:15-23 ESV)

(2) Why does He not answer us as we expect Him to do?

Why do you contend against him, saying, ‘He will answer none of man’s words’?

For God speaks in one way, and in two, though man does not perceive it.

In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falls on men, while they slumber on their beds, then he opens the ears of men and terrifies them with warnings, that he may turn man aside from his deed and conceal pride from a man; he keeps back his soul from the pit, his life from perishing by the sword.

Man is also rebuked with pain on his bed and with continual strife in his bones, so that his life loathes bread, and his appetite the choicest food. His flesh is so wasted away that it cannot be seen, and his bones that were not seen stick out. His soul draws near the pit, and his life to those who bring death.

If there be for him an angel, a mediator, one of the thousand, to declare to man what is right for him, and he is merciful to him, and says, ‘Deliver him from going down into the pit; I have found a ransom; let his flesh become fresh with youth; let him return to the days of his youthful vigor’; then man prays to God, and he accepts him; he sees his face with a shout of joy, and he restores to man his righteousness.

He sings before men and says: ‘I sinned and perverted what was right, and it was not repaid to me. He has redeemed my soul from going down into the pit, and my life shall look upon the light.’

“Behold, God does all these things, twice, three times, with a man, to bring back his soul from the pit, that he may be lighted with the light of life.” (Job 33:13-30 ESV – emphasis in italics added)

Our only mediator and true light of the world that enlightens all people is, as we know now, our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, we must be cautious to not pass judgment on other people before His time (i.e.,The Final Judgment). What is more important for us is to pray for their salvation, even and especially if they do us wrong. We should not fret about wrongful politicians, greedy economic leaders, or disgustful journalists although we should always try to discern the spirits that have driven them to do the wrong thing. Nonetheless, if we share a little bit of God’s heart, we will pray for these people as He nudges us. You and I might know that our old nature does not want to pray such prayers; instead, the old Adam seeks revenge when being wronged. But revenge is mine, says the Lord (see the last Scripture beneath). While our task is to love our enemies so that they might be saved. The apostle Paul said,

[…] I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.

This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time. (1 Tim 2:1-6 ESV)

Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. (Rom 12:17-19 NKJV)

All images by Susanne and Sarah Schuberth 2017, 2019