Speaking Truth

If there is a messenger for him, a mediator, one among a thousand, to show man His uprightness, then He is gracious to him, and says,‘Deliver him from going down to the Pit...'” Job 33:23-24a

With a saddened heart I think upon the words from Job that the Lord put before me this morning. Not because these words of truth are new to my heart or becaue they have convicted me of something I need to deal with in my life (that is usually the case though). No, my heart is saddened because as I read the words of Job 33 and thought about this particular date, August 29th, I was taken back to a time in my life where the truth of what Elihu spoke to Job was a truth I had to consider while I spoke out in love to another - and it cost me dearly. Let me take you back a bit so I can tell the whole story more properly.

When my boys were younger, I did a lot of speaking to MOPS groups because I held a leadership position in their national organization and it was a good way for me to get out into the groups to see how they were doing. For that reason, I needed a babysitter who could be flexible with my schedule and be able to babysit during the morning hours when I needed to be gone. A young girl named Michelle was volunteered by her mother to fill that role for me, and it was a perfect fit (although after her first day with my boys she was rather skeptical I would ever ask her to come back since they had packed up their belongings in their battery controlled jeep and were headed out of the neighborhood when I came home that day). Needless to say, things did get better and having her babysit for us was a wonderful arrangement.

After a while, I felt the Lord tugging on my heart to ask Michelle if she would like to do a bible study with me since I was already tutoring her in math and she was wanting to hang around our home more and more. She was excited and that invitation was the beginning of a deep and wonderful relationship the two of us began to share. Over time, Michelle became more and more a part of our family. So much so, that when our daughter Maggie was born she thought that Michelle lived with us (because she was around so much) and surely she had to be her older sister. Michelle traveled with me as I spoke out of state and she also went on family vacations with us. We often joked that she was to me as Timothy was to Paul, a spiritual offspring – she was the daughter that God had given me.

When I started leading a bible study at my church, I encouraged Michelle to join the group to be encouraged by women other than myself. In that group she became friends with a sweet young mom who was eager to learn as much as she could about the bible. But, it wasn't long after I started this study that they Lord started pressing on our family the need to move and transition to another place He had for us. (By the way, if you want to read all about that journey, you can find it on my blog from the dates February 13th - 17th . Here are the links to the individual entries:  Does Escape Bring Rest?Does Striving Bring Rest? , Where is the Beauty that Brings Rest?, Will Worthy Activities Bring Me Rest?Will Money or Riches Bring Me Rest?).

As we eventually moved, we found out that this young mom and her husband were in need of a place to stay and with our new home having an apartment, we offered it to this struggling couple hoping that we could help them get back on their feet physically and spiritually. But, what started out sounding like a wonderful situation, quickly turned sour rather quickly. Michelle maintained her friendship with this young mother, but all the more started pulling away from me as she felt the need to pick sides as I had no choice but to turn from friend being a friend of this young mother and her husband to their landlord.

Needless to say, my husband and I had many things we wanted to share with this young couple, but they were unwilling to see their need to change any of their ways. As I prayed about the situation God was very clear I needed to confront them, but in doing so I knew I would probably lose what was left of the relationship I still longed to have with Michelle. My fears were realized when the couple finally moved on and Michelle cut off all ties with me – I have not spoken to her since.

The reason today is so difficult though is because it is Michelle's birthday, one I wish I could be part of but can't because of the words the Lord asked me to speak for Him. Am I sorry that I spoke as the Lord asked? No, I would rather please the Lord always in what I do instead of any man. But there still is a part of me that yearns to restore the relationship I once enjoyed so much with Michelle. Speaking truth, as you really know God wants you to, is not an easy thing to do as you can see. We are all fallen, and therefore even though we may speak as God directs us, others still can think that since we are sinful beings and the words we at times utter are words they do not want to hear truth, that the words which proceed out of our mouth are humanly manipulated for our own gain and not the spiritual gain of the person we are speaking them to.

Listen to what Elihu says to Job about how he feels the Lord is using him to utter the words he is about to speak:

But please, Job, hear my speech,
And listen to all my words.
Now, I open my mouth;
My tongue speaks in my mouth.
My words come from my upright heart;
My lips utter pure knowledge.
The Spirit of God has made me,
And the breath of the Almighty gives me life.
If you can answer me,
Set your words in order before me;
Take your stand.
Truly I am as your spokesman before God;
I also have been formed out of clay.
Surely no fear of me will terrify you,
Nor will my hand be heavy on you.”
Job 33:1-7

Maybe some day God will restore my daughter Michelle to me. Until then I pray for both her and this young mother that the Lord will work in ways first to restore them to Him. I do not regret my words, although at times I am saddened by the result that came about because I uttered them.  But I have chosen to give over to God what is His and remember how much more He loves each of these young women than I ever could. 

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