On our journey to becoming wise, God invites us to dwell in each of the three houses of wisdom. It’s not always a comfortable stay, but each house is ultimately where we’ll find our comfort.
1) The Prosperous House (Proverbs)
2) The Stricken House (Job)
3) The Decaying House (Ecclesiastes)
Wisdom’s First House, Proverbs, feels so accommodating to us because it’s purpose is to make sense out of the God-made world in which we live. The Proverbs are designed to communicate order and relational orientation, so that we might prosper in community with God and with men.
Today, we are visiting the second house of wisdom (Job).
We find ourselves in wisdom’s second house when life doesn’t make sense, when we lose our orientation. While we walk upright through the front door of wisdom’s first house, we stumble on our knees through the back door of wisdom’s second house while weeping and crying out, “Why?”
We enter wisdom’s second house when we are stricken with suffering—intense, ongoing, inexplicable suffering.
When I crawled through the door of the stricken house, I was so completely disoriented that in my utter lost-ness I began working through the most fundamental of life’s questions, starting with:
- Is there a God?
- Do I know Him?
- Where is God?
- How do I find Him?”
There are some things we must know when we dwell in the second house of wisdom:
- Job, the person, is not presented to us as an untouchable, enshrined saint of suffering. We who walk with God are supposed to identify with Job in his suffering, in his lamenting, in his wrestling, in his questioning, and in his discovery.
- Job’s “comforters” never die. We will likely encounter those who will offer us their counsel in an attempt to alleviate our suffering, but will end up only adding to it. Someone will play the jackass by playing a game of pin-the-Proverb-on-the-donkey with our lives, attempting to explain our suffering by pointing to a particular cause.
- While our enemy will relentlessly attack us through our suffering, seeking to work us ruin, God will faithfully work out His own good and loving purposes by using the same suffering to prosper us—if we cooperate with Him in the painful process.
- Although it will feel like God has abandoned us in our suffering, God actually grieves over us, and suffers with us. The cross of Christ is proof that God is not aloof and detached from our suffering.
- Our time waiting upon God is not time wasted. Waiting is crucial to God’s process.
When God invites us into the stricken house, He does not avoid the question of our suffering, but instead supplies the only answer that will bring us the comfort we so desperately long for. As we agonize and wrestle, God surrounds us, envelops us, and wraps His Presence around us until we discover that wisdom’s second house is God’s revelation of Himself.
Next we will visit the third house of wisdom. I’ll leave the porch light on for you, but it might not be working. You’ll see why.