Saturday, March 26, 2011

Useless counsel

Although he has a lot of respect for John Piper, Chaplain Mike at Internet Monk reacted negatively to Piper's statement that when people are affected by events like the tsunami in Japan "...sooner or later [they] want more than empathy and aid—they want answers."
.... People ultimately want love, not answers. Answers are not the capstone; love is. Most can do without specific explanations. No one can do without love. Even when sufferers cry out, “Why?” they are not asking for answers. They are expressing pain and hoping someone is there to hear their cries. Above all, they want to know they are not alone, not abandoned, not rejected. They want love. They want the presence of someone who cares. They want reassurance that someone is there to embrace them, listen to them, hold their hand, be their friend.

To believe that “answers” are the ultimate solution is to take the position of Job’s comforters. ....

The Book of Job is about the limits of wisdom. This book shows the insufficiency of “answers” in the face of human suffering. It is a critique of the approach we are always tempted to take—thinking that talking and teaching and reasoning and giving divine “answers” to life’s mysteries and problems are our greatest gift to the world. ....

.... Take a lesson from Job’s friends at the beginning of the book (Job 2:11-13). They simply came and sat with their friend. And they accomplished more in those seven days than in 38 chapters of speeches trying to explain the mysteries of God.

People don’t ultimately need answers from their friends. They need love. Before God, they need the faith and humility to know that he is bigger than any explanations, and that all humans are so limited that we can never figure out the mysteries of his ways. It is best simply to clasp one’s hands over one’s mouth. .... [more]
Addicted to “Answers” | internetmonk.com