“How long will you torment my soul, and break me in pieces with words?” ~ Job 19:2
Job had lost his children, his possessions, his home, his wife, and his health. He was in terrible shape. And then his friends came to visit.
They started out well…
“…For they had made an appointment together to come and mourn with him, and to comfort him. And when they raised their eyes from afar, and did not recognize him, they lifted their voices and wept; and each one tore his robe and sprinkled dust on his head toward heaven. So they sat down with him on the ground seven days and seven nights, and no one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his grief was very great.” ~ Job 2:11b-13
Sometimes that is all we ought to do, when someone is suffering– keep silent and grieve with them. Cry with them. Just be there. But all too often, we feel helpless not doing or saying something, and so we share our opinions and platitudes.
This is what Job’s friends did. After seven days of silence, they began accusing him of being wicked and having unconfessed sin before God. Their faulty theology– that God rewards the righteous and punishes the wicked– is still believed by some today.
“He has removed my brothers far from me, and my acquaintances are completely estranged from me. My relatives have failed, and my close friends have forgotten me.” ~ Job 19:13-14
Often, those closest to us inflict the most hurt. Many times it is unintentional. Look at Job’s friends. They truly thought they were helping him by telling him what a terrible sinner he must be and urging him to repent. If only they had understood grace ~ God’s unearned, undeserved mercy and love and forgiveness and kindness ~ that allows us to stand clean and righteous in God’s presence!
But now, as the days grow shorter and darker on this weary planet, the intentions of hearts are changing.
” ‘Now brother will deliver up brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death. And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved…Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to “set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law”; and “a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.” ‘ ” ~ Matthew 10:21-22, 34-36
How many of us as parents are experiencing horrendous heartache as our children walk away from Jesus and scorn the very things we as a family have always held dear?
Who among us has a sibling, a parent, or a close friend who mocks our beliefs and hates the Jesus we wholeheartedly love?
What are we seeing, looming on the horizon? Across the oceans, persecution is rampant, barbaric, and growing. It is seeping into our country as well, in subtle yet real ways.
Our enemy, Satan, is devouring and destroying families and lives.
But there is always hope! God has promised that He will win the battle (read the book of Revelation). There are widespread reports of Jesus coming to people in dreams ~ Jesus will reach the “untold millions”, with or without our help! 🙂
And those close to us, while inflicting pain, are also watching us. Watching to see how we live. Watching to see how we act, or react. Watching to see if Jesus is truly in us. Let’s make sure we are daily seeking His face and spending time with Him. Where one man reads the Bible, a hundred read you and me. ~ D.L. Moody
Through all his pain and suffering, Job clung to his belief in and love of God Almighty. He had faith, and he had hope.
“For I know that my Redeemer lives, and He shall stand at last on the earth; and after my skin is destroyed, this I know, that in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!” ~ Job 19:25-27
So let’s continue about our Father’s business, living for Him and sharing the good news to whoever wants to listen.
” ‘Do you not say, “There are still four months and then comes the harvest”? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest!’ ” ~ John 4:35
And take heart– keep looking up– for Jesus is coming soon!
” ‘Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.’ ” ~ Luke 21:28
Amen. Come quickly Lord Jesus.