Monday, January 28, 2013

Miserable comforters!!

I have been studying the book of Job lately. It is an interesting book filled with lessons to be learned. There is mystery behind the book of Job on who wrote it and other interesting things, but that's for another day.

We all pretty well know the story of Job. He was a righteous man who had a great, comfy life. Satan comes in and starts smack talk about how the only reason Job is faithful is because God is so good to him. God knows better than that. So God says Satan is allowed to get at Job for a while and do anything except take his life. Then ....ka-blewie! Job loses his family, wealth, flocks, EVERYTHING. He is covered with sores and trying to deal with the loss of ALL his children. Job sinks into depression and has "friends" that try to convince him that this is somehow his fault. Eventually, God speaks to Job and his friends and lays down the law. God sets things right and Job was faithful through it all and he ends up even more blessed in the end than he was in the beginning. Whew. So that's the very basic condensed version. If you want the full story go to the old testament a d read the book of Job.

Usually we like to focus on Job, and how we admire the fact that he remained faithful. We focus on the immense amount of suffering he went through. However, I want to flip this around and look at it differently like I enjoy doing.

Too often when we read the bible we don't put ourselves in the shoes of those in the story. We like to sit on our comfy rumps and scoff at the mistakes people made. Are we blameless? Do we Forget that we know how the story from a view they cannot see? We know what each person is thinking and we are able to look at it from the outside.

First I want to focus on Jobs friends. As I read their accusations against Job I felt angry. I kept wondering how they could say he HAD to have done SOMETHING wrong for all of this tragedy to fall upon him. Then, I checked myself. They didn't know what I had read in the first few verses about what went on between God and Satan. They had no idea. To their credit they sat silent for several days with Job. Ever done that before? Job became so frustrated with them and their comments he called them miserable comforters. It was true, they were. This caused me to ask I a miserable comforter? We all have been at some point. We point our fingers and judge people, even our friends. We ask, "How could they afford THAT?" or "If they hadn't done XYZ then this wouldn't have happened."And on it goes. We THINK we know the situation. We THINK we know what the answer is. Just like Job's friends though, we are so wrong. Let us make ourselves aware that we are ignorant, and we have no right to Judge. Job's friends really and truly believed they were doing what was right. Hmmmm, I've been there. You? I've been so sure I was right, then God smacks me upside the head and knocks some sense back into me for a moment. Saul was sure he was right when he was killing Christians. Perhaps when we are sure we are right we need to step back for a moment. At the root of all of this, I believe, is pride. We don't like to admit we are wrong, do we? We like to play goody goody and sit ourselves up and look at other peoples problems when we need to fix our own issues. Job's friends can teach us a lot. We can see how much like them we really are.

The next time someone needs you, don't judge them. Don't pick apart why or why not they should have done something. Be there for them. Show them the love and mercy of Christ. Pray FOR them and pray WITH them. Right then and there and later. Guide them to the love of God.

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