Tuesday, July 31, 2012

"Slow To Speak"

You know we are all quick to think that when a person is dealing with pain whether it be physical or emotional, that they somehow deserve it.  We read in Job that his friends treated him the same way. Can we say they jumped the gun? They assumed Job deserved the pain and loss he was experiencing. There was a point where Job was wallowing in self-pity ( as we sometimes do). His friend's were judging him unfairly based on what he was going through at the time (Job 6:14-"A despairing man should have the devotion of his friends, even though he forsakes the fear of the Almighty"). Job began to recognize as only a person in pain can do, that simple answers not only fail to relieve pain, they can literally drive a person further from God. If we are not careful, we can find ourselves doing the same thing to people we might not agree with. Is this a good enough reason to treat them unfairly? I think not!  Could we possibly be driving a deeper wedge between them and God? How will anyone experience the True Love of Jesus if we are not showing it? They won't! I believe if we were to be honest with ourselves. We could say we've all done it.  Let me turn your attention to the other side of things for moment. The truth of the matter is, Job's trial was not the pain or loss; it was not being able to understand why God allowed him to suffer at no fault of his. There is a danger if we stay focused on life's injustices and say look what happened to me; how unfair it is!  We may eventually turn to blaming God if we are not careful. We need to remember that life's trials, whether allowed by God or sent by God can be the means for a closer relationship with Him. When facing trials, try asking "What can I learn and how can I grow" rather than "Who did this to me and how can I get out of it"? You see we all become impatient with our sufferings ( I know I do) just like Job did. But, I have good news, Job was eventually restored, as you will be. He finally learned that when nothing else was left, he had God, and that was enough. Through suffering, we learn that God is enough for us in our lives. We must love Him regardless of the blessings or suffering that come to us. Although we may not be able to fully understand the pain we are experiencing at the time, it can truly lead us to rediscovering God! We should show love and compassion by getting on our knees and praying instead of shaking our fist and pointing fingers at those we might not agree with. Not one time in the Word when dealing with those who did not know Him did Jesus react in this manner. He always responded in love! Just as His Father in Heaven instructed Him too (1 Corinthians 13:4-13- "Love is patient and is kind; love doesn't envy. Love doesn’t brag, is not proud, 5 doesn't behave itself inappropriately, doesn’t seek its own way, is not provoked, takes no account of evil; 6 doesn't rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will be done away with. Where there are various languages, they will cease. Where there is knowledge, it will be done away with. 9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part; 10 but when that which is complete has come, then that which is partial will be done away with. 11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I felt as a child, I thought as a child. Now that I have become a man, I have put away childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I will know fully, even as I was also fully known. 13 But now faith, hope, and love remain—these three. The greatest of these is love"). By the way, we as Christ-Followers (Philippians 4:9-"Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me -- put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you") are also called to love one another regardless of circumstance. So I leave you with one final thought: The next time we find ourselves focusing on someone else's issues, maybe we should be quick to recall issues we've faced in our own lives. We may resign to the realization that everyone goes through difficulties and that God will see us through it.

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