In the midst of Job’s suffering, Eliphaz appears with words that sound more like a theological defense than compassionate empathy. His considerations, suggesting that Job might deserve his suffering, seem to close the doors to a deeper understanding. In Job’s heart, plagued by pain and sorrow, the essence was not whether he was more just than God, but how much he suffered and why.
Eliphaz’s additional argument, based on “visions in the night,” added a supernatural dimension. Yet, in his zeal to emphasize God’s justice, he seemed to overlook the essential – the human experience of pain and loss. Job’s lament was not dishonest but a desperate expression of profound suffering.
12 “Job, a message was secretly brought to me, and my ears caught a whisper of it. In the disquieting dreams of the night, when deep sleep falls on people, fear and trembling seized me and made all my bones shake. A spirit glided past my face, and the hair on my body stood on end. It stopped, but I could not tell what it was. A form stood before my eyes, and I heard a hushed voice: ‘Can a mortal be more righteous than God? Can even a strong man be more pure than his Maker? If God places no trust in his servants, if he charges his angels with error, how much more those who live in houses of clay, whose foundations are in the dust, who are crushed more readily than a moth! Between dawn and dusk they are broken to pieces; unnoticed, they perish forever. Are not the cords of their tent pulled up, so that they die without wisdom?'” Job 4:12-21
The accounts of Eliphaz and Job remind us that even with a correct perspective, our words can miss the mark if not carried by a heart full of compassion. May this reflection teach us that in the depths of suffering, compassion builds a bridge between theology and human experience.
teach us how to share your truth with a spirit of love and compassion. Let our words be sources of comfort and encouragement, especially when faced with the depths of human suffering. May your love shine through us as we strive to reach the hearts of our fellow human beings. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
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