As Timothy Keller concludes Chapter 10 of Walking with God through Pain and Suffering, he emphasizes that just as every affliction is virtually unique, so too are the pathways through that affliction. These aspects of affliction are not always properly understood by those seeking to offer a Biblical perspective to our loss.
For example, Job called his friends “miserable comforters” (Job 16:2). Don Carson (For the Love of God) elaborates:
“There is a way of using theology and theological arguments that wounds rather than heals. This is not the fault of theology and theological arguments, it is the fault of the miserable comforter, who fastens on an inappropriate fragment of truth, or whose timing is off, or whose attitude is condescending, or whose application is insensitive. . .”
In other words, things said that don’t help consist of real truths- applied poorly. On the other hand, things said that are helpful consist of a set of truths that are applied (1) in the right order and (2) in the right way. Helpful friends will be sensitive to the diversity of temperaments and pathways, discerning when and how to respond. Pastor Keller concludes:
“There are multiple truths that the Bible teaches about suffering, and these different truths need to be applied in a different order depending on circumstance, stage, and temperament.”
Today’s question: What Biblical responses to your vocation loss have been applied in the right order and way? applied poorly? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: “Walking through fiery trials”