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365 Challenge

Filtering by Tag: Joy

How should we respond to friends who are suffering?(Job 2-7)

Wesley Skinner

Understanding Job has always been a struggle for me. It's really confusing because job's friends give him a lot of seemingly good information and advice, yet God rebukes them. Recently, I have started thinking maybe that is the problem. Maybe their role as friends was not to give advice. 

Oddly enough, I have been to a lot of funerals. One that sticks in my memory often, was for a close relative's husband. He died in a tragic accident at work. I was with her at the hospital as she went back to view his body. She was, understandably, inconsolable. I remember being there with her and thinking, I should say something, but in times like that, there usually are no helpful words. They had twin little girls and in the days to follow I heard person after person tell her, 'she had to be strong for those girls'. It made me angry every time. Allow her to grieve! If you want to help, stop talking and be there for her. Help with the girls in her time of mourning, but don't add unnecessary stress to a person who's life has just been turned upside down!

This gives me new perspective on the book of Job. Why do we think we always have to say something? What can you say to a person who has lost everything? In the middle of tragedy, do you really think making a person think something they have done, might have caused the problem is a good idea?! Is that helpful in that moment?

I think the reason we feel a need to talk in these times is because our culture tells us that any emotion that is not happiness is wrong and needs to be corrected. But that is not a Biblical truth at all! We are to be joyful at all times, and Job demonstrated joy in the midst of sadness. Joy and happiness are two different things. One is an emotion based on circumstance, the other is a truth anchored and strong regardless of circumstance. We find all kinds of different emotions in the Bible: joy, sadness, righteous anger, laments, happiness, suffering, hope, fear, peace... Jesus was not always happy. Very famously "Jesus wept." Jesus mourned. Jesus righteously drove out the money changers. Jesus marveled. Jesus was sorrowful. All without sin. 

I think I'm learning that emotions are ok. Even ones that make us uncomfortable. And that sometimes, it is better to not talk. Even if there might be some truth to what you are saying. Know appropriate time and place. I can't learn this fast enough!

Job has a bad day(Job 1-2)

Wesley Skinner

Imagine things are going well for you. You are obedient to God and see him bless you. You worry about nothing except the salvation of your children. It's easy to worship God in good times, but what about bad? This is Satan's proposition to God. 

God: job is righteous, have you considered testing him?

Satan: he is righteous in good times, but he will deny You in bad. 

Isn't this the age old question? Why do bad things happen to good people? Job gives us a case study, only, God tips His hand from the beginning. We see God tell us, Job is being tested because God believes in him. So we know the why, now we get to see how he responds. 

Job has a bad day. The worst. One servant after another delivers the messages to him, his livelihood(livestock), his wealth(camels), and his legacy(children) are all taken away. Job demonstrates the proper response, "The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” And Job fell down in worship. Everything was taken from Job except his joy. Joy rests in the Giver not the gifts. How would you respond in the face of devastating loss? Would your faith waiver? If so, you may be worshipping the gift not the giver.