My acquaintances are completely estranged from me.
My relatives have failed,
And my close friends have forgotten me...
I am an alien in their sight...
My breath is offensive to my wife,
And I am repulsive to the children of my own body.
Even young children despise me;
I arise, and they speak against me.
All my close friends abhor me,
And those whom I love have turned against me...
Have pity on me, have pity on me, O you my friends,
For the Hand of God has struck me!
Before Jesus, no Bible hero had it worse than Job. Through no fault of his own, Job lost family, fortune and health. Three of his friends came to see him; 'They set out from their homes and met together by agreement to go and sympathize with him and comfort him' (Job 2:11).
For seven days and seven nights, Job's friends stayed by his side in silence. But the temptation to analyze Job's predicament was hard to resist. Why did this tragedy happen? They yielded to religious reasoning, and Job's misery was worsened: 'I am one mocked by his friends' (Job 12:4).
Enter stage right, a wise and mysterious young man named Elihu. He witnessed the fault-finding of Job's friends, and 'His wrath was aroused, because they had found no answer, and yet had condemned Job' (Job 32:3).
Actors, models and talent for Christ: religious reasoning is tempting, but wrong. God reminds us: 'As the Heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My Thoughts than your thoughts' (Isaiah 55:9). How easily we forget our limitations, when we ask questions like...
'Why did such and such happen to so and so?' 'Why did so and so do such and such?' We fill our voids of understand with everything but faith.
All too easily, I join the judges, unless I keep my mind from unqualified analysis and my mouth from unjust blame. I would never dream of calling myself a dream hater. Even so, I've been one, because judgmental thoughts become judgmental comments. Both are harmful.
Here's the thing: No one but God sees the full picture: the multi-dimensional physical and
spiritual circumstances surrounding each of life's challenges; the past, present and future; the heart, mind and purpose: the good that comes from suffering.
Consider childbirth: We have learned to expect a joyful conclusion. But did Eve know what to expect prior to her first delivery?
Here's the lesson: in mysterious circumstances and unexplainable torment, our jobs are to trust Him, to endure, and to speak in faith.
Actors, models and talent for Christ: Lift a new standard of behavior within the church, and especially beyond it. Resist the temptation to religious reasoning.
Instead, be unreasonably faithful. Without faith, Bible knowledge is dangerous. Without faith, it is impossible to please God... And without love, our best ideas are no more than noisy gongs: disruptive and deafening.
To Be Continued...
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Dream Haters series.