On Saturday night at Dance Workshop, Pamela was explaining to the kids why bad things happen to good people and used the example of Job. Having just finished 1 John, I was trying to figure out what to study next and decided Job sounded like a good idea. So . . . here’s what I’ve learned so far:
“I came naked from my mother’s womb,
and I will be naked when I leave.
The Lord gave me what I had,
and the Lord has taken it away.
Praise the name of the Lord!”
Job knows that God is worthy of praise, no matter what his own circumstances are. God allows everything to be taken from him – his thousands of animals, his children, his health – but still Job worships God. Nothing in this life is our own, it all belongs entirely to God and He has the right to do with it what He chooses. We can’t take it with us when we die so why are we so focussed on accumulating stuff now?
Chapter 2: 11-13
When three of Job’s friends heard of the tragedy he had suffered, they got together and traveled from their homes to comfort and console him. Their names were Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite. 12 When they saw Job from a distance, they scarcely recognized him. Wailing loudly, they tore their robes and threw dust into the air over their heads to show their grief. 13 Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and nights. No one said a word to Job, for they saw that his suffering was too great for words.
So, before they start to argue with and accuse Job, these guys seem like pretty great friends. When they hear that he’s in trouble they travel to be with him; they share in his grief and suffering; they sit with him for seven days and nights; they understand him and know words cannot help. Are we friends who would go out of our way like this? I think it’s a real challenge that we have to be there, and sometimes our presence alone is enough, for our friends. 1 John 3:18 says “let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions”; I’ve blogged a lot about loving the lost etc. but what about simply starting with loving our friends. It’s easiest to let our guard down around those who know us best but we should be just as mindful of what we’re saying and doing around them as anyone else. I like that Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar dropped everything for Job – they probably had some stuff of their own going on, complaints of their, worries of their own, but they didn’t try to fil the silence – they were entirely there for Job, and Job alone.
“But consider the joy of those corrected by God!
Do not despise the discipline of the Almighty when you sin.
For though he wounds, he also bandages.
He strikes, but his hands also heal.”
Self explanatory really. God allows troubles to happen but never, ever abandons us to them. He is with us in all walks of life, Isaiah 41:10 says He’ll hold us up with His right hand and verse 13 says he holds our hand. He holds and comforts and heals. I like to think it’s like when we were learning to walk: when we fall down he picks us up, sets us back on feet, lets have another go but holds our hand to support us and catches us the next time we tumble, and the time after that, and the time after that . . .