2004-09-20 - When the Storms Roll
Job 30:20-22 "I cry out to you, O God, but you do not answer; I stand up, but you merely look at me. 21 You turn on me ruthlessly; with the might of your hand you attack me. 22 You snatch me up and drive me before the wind; you toss me about in the storm. (NIV)
Have you ever felt this way? Like God had turned His back on you? And then, when you cried out in despair, He would turn angrily at you like a frustrated parent with a spoiled child. The place we are to turn to as a refuge in storms and trials seems to become closed to us. It is in these moments that seem so powerfully dark, that even the strongest faith may waiver.
Not unlike Job, it is not unusual for believers around us to say such warm and compassionate things as, "there must be some sin in your life." I suppose it is not an impossibility, but trials are not all because we've blown it. God is a so patient with us. He will chide us, and He will correct us sternly at times. We are His children, and we will be corrected - in love. It may be firm, but never harsh or cruel. In this case, Job was being showcased by God to the enemy. He was hardly being punished for bad behavior. Comments like the one above are like throwing an anchor to a drowning man in the middle of the ocean.
Many people are uncomfortable around someone going through a difficult time. Sadness and confusion are not always easy to be around. That is, until you see the smile in the eyes of someone who is glad you took a moment to just be with them and lighten his day for a little while. Do that a few times, and your discomfort will quickly be replaced with compassion and hope to give to that person in need of it. And whether there is some sin in that person's life or not, they will need a friend who will stick by them.
2 Cor 1:3-7 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. 5 For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. 6 If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. 7 And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort. (NIV)
Lessons learned in difficulties are painful ones, but they are longlasting. Comfort makes trouble more able to be endured, teaching us patience. In all things, there are anchors to our souls like our salvation. The comfort and joy that is there in that acceptance and certainty may be obscured, but can never be taken from us. If you can honestly let that person know that you have struggled through the same thing, he is no longer alone in that struggle. This kind of encouragement is priceless. There is also the knowledge that, even in the deepest pain or rejection, God will never leave us and that nothing can take us from His protecting hand.
John 10:27-30 "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; 28 and I give eternal life to them, and they shall never perish. And no one shall snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. 30 "I and the Father are one." (NAS)
Lord Jesus - we are guaranteed times of trial in this life. Help us to learn the things You have for us in these difficult times. Give us the faith and the strength to share our weaknesses with others, so they can be comforted. Teach us to cherish the patience we learn, and to draw strength in the surety of our salvation and Your care for us. Amen.
Grace & Peace,