By Leonard Lauriault: Religion columnist
Recently, I was consoling a loved one who was really frustrated because her son continued to subject himself to a harmful relationship.
I reminded her that because there was only so much she could do, the only option was to give it over to God and let him take care of the matter.
She let me know she didn’t like my statement one bit, saying it was merely a platitude used by those who seem to care, but haven’t experienced the heartache they’re trying to console. I gently told her that I understood her point, but that she should consider the source in this case and then I proceeded to tell her some of the things I’d faced in my lifetime.
She later extended her apologies through my wife because she realized that most people have been through some tough times. That’s when I was convicted — deeply — not so much because of the advice I’d given, but because I realized that I, too, was guilty of judging others for using the same platitude.
One thing I learned is that we really shouldn’t worry about the giver of the advice. If the advice is good, it’s good without regard to who gave it (1 Thessalonians 5: 20-22).
Peter told us to cast all our cares on Jesus because he cares for us (1 Peter 5: 6, 7). While we know that Peter denied Christ in the face of danger (Matthew 26: 31-35, 69-75), we also know that he wrote from inspiration (2 Peter 1: 16-21; 2 Timothy 3: 16, 16; John 16: 13-15) and so the encouragement to cast all our cares on Jesus comes from Jesus himself.
We also know, then, that the advice is good because Jesus has experienced every problem and temptation of humanity we face (Hebrews 2: 14-18; 4: 14-16).
I also was reminded that while it may help for the human advisor to have faced an identical crisis, we should remember that everyone has problems and has received comfort. Knowing the value of that comfort, most want to pass it on to others (2 Corinthians 1: 3-11).
We may not be able to address the issue directly, but we can still encourage because we’ve learned that reliance on God is the only way to survive. We must be careful, though, to not be unduly judgmental in any matter (we are to make judgments, but we’re to do that from the proper perspective — to be helpful: Matthew 7: 1-5).
Sometimes we need to just sit quietly until the silence becomes unbearable and then leave. Job’s friends should have done that (Job 2: 11-4: 7). The best thing Eliphaz could have said, in my opinion, was, “Job, we’re really sorry about what’s happened. Is there anything we can do? If not, at least let us pray before we go, turning this matter over to God.” I hope I can take that advice myself.
Have you learned to rely on God during times of trouble? He does care for you!