➡️ Dreadful, Bad, Painful things do happen to completely innocent people — good people. ⬅️
So there you are in the middle of one of life’s train-wrecks, — dazed, wounded, wondering what shoe will be dropping next, (or flood clean up, or wind storm, or loss ) and up walks Job’s comforters.
Most likely you will remember Job from the Bible. A prosperous, powerful man, a great father and good in every way was Mr. Job. (Joe-eh-b.)
Then, in a rapid series of overlapping upheavals, he lost everything and everybody, (except his wife-who turned out to be a whole lot less than sympathetic when their status changed).
Battered Job ends up sitting alone on a pile of dirt, scratching his boil-covered body with some broken pottery. He’s needy, and a big mess of embarrassment.
Hmmmm…. How utterly inconvenient.
When Life Is Upside Down
When life Is upside down — we can Sure Identify with Poor Job!
Life drags us through some tough times of loss that make us feel every bit like Job did. Caught in a vortex of pain or loss, wondering if we’ll ever make it to safety.
And boy oh boy do we recognize Job’s so-called friends who showed up to “by all accounts” offer support and comfort.
As they sat with Job in his misery, they took turns playing a self-centered, self-righteous, “can-you-top-this” game of knowing for certain that every bit of Job’s disaster had to be his own fault, or…..a lack of trust in God.
Maybe not working hard enough, long enough! Perhaps working too much?
Ahhhh… those “spectating speculators”. They have attitude! 😏
THEY weren’t sure how or why these difficult situations persisted, because Job SEEMED so decent, but deep down, THEY insisted, he just couldn’t be all that he pretended to be. He MUST somehow deserve this.
Ah! Such compassion in the face of pain. 🙄 🙄 🙄
This is Familiar Territory.
You get fired and friends smirk knowingly when you try to explain the political nature of the event.
Your child gets into difficulty.
Welllllll….. you know the kind of comfort you’ll get from friends about that. (It probably started sometime during when YOU were potty training them.) 😉
Yet others try to “help” you with what I call “prayer lecturing.”
While praying “for and with you” they let you (and God) know, just how lucky you should be to even have running water, had a meal that day and more!
Not really comforting in any way, and very ➡️ very ⬅️ short on compassion. Yet from the story, it’s clear that Job was completely innocent.
➡️ Dreadful, Bad, Painful things do happen to completely innocent people. Good people.⬅️
Because of their opinion of Job’s guilt, history has given his friends — (and their current modern day clones) — the label, “Job’s comforters.”
So-called friends who add to a suffering person’s anguish by piling on false charges of blame and guilt while withholding comfort and barking out harsh reprimands for daring to show sadness, need, weakness or agony.
You may never have met anybody like Job, but I’m sure that you’ve met his comforters on more than one occasion. They seem to be everywhere.
We can maybe charge some of it off to Jealousy. Job had everything a person could dream of wanting-and then some, so jealousy was never more than a stone’s throw away.
The green-eyed monster is a little more subtle with people living everyday, typical lives, but jealousy doesn’t need much ground to take root and grow with gusto.
We Don’t Want to Admit Bad Things may Happen to us!
If bad things happen to people who don’t deserve them, they could happen to anybody, including me.
If I don’t want bad things to happen to me, (who does?), I have to persuade myself and everybody around me that the victim’s actions caused the problem.
If blame can be assigned, then I’ll be safe as long as I’m good, as long as I’m appearing together and OK!
In other words, if I can claim that the cause of your problem is something you do that I don’t do, then what happened to you can’t happen to me.
There is, of course, no logic to this, but it brings some shaky comfort to frightened and overwhelmed hearts.
We see this thinking at work when people stare numbly at adversity and ask, “What did I do to deserve this?” Sometimes… the answer is, “nothing.”
Have you Ever Asked Yourself: “Why me?”
And it doesn’t have to be bad; you could be excited from something wonderful happening. More often then not, I ask myself this after something I am looking forward to goes wrong.
Even at times when something goes wrong I lay awake at night and my thoughts wonder to what previously occurred.
(I am sure everyone does it at times, wishing for another try or chance.) Maybe you may lay awake thinking about your suffering.
Part of life’s suffering is misery’s shadow persisting/hanging on. Not only do you suffer, but you have to think about suffering.
I can’t prove this with statistics or find it any book that I know of, but I would say that more people either come to the faith or fall away from it because of this reason above all other ms. The disturbing anguish of suffering.
You see God uses Times of Suffering…… to Teach and Grow us!
If you allow yourself to review your past sufferings, did you not learn more about faith while suffering then any other time?
It has been said that; “Blessings are God’s whispers, He speaks in our conscience, but shouts to us in our suffering.”
“O my Comforter in sorrow, my heart is faint within me,” Jeremiah 8:18.
Suffering becomes the only way to realize our hollow spiritual self.
Pain is unmasked, and every person knows when something is “not right” when, they are struggling and hurting.
Pain insists upon being attended to! Addressed!
I Know Suffering is Exhausting and Pain Hurts.
That is why it’s called pain and suffering. If there were an escape, a person of great wisdom and insight would have done it already. Yet, Discipleship demands such trials to propel us towards renewal.
Read Hebrews 2:10 –
“God, for whom and through whom everything was made, chose to bring many children into glory. And it was only right that he should make Jesus, through his suffering, a perfect leader, fit to bring them into their salvation.”
The real question is what to do when life has just punched us a good one, and Job’s comforters show up at our door.
Nobody says we have to let them in. And certainly nobody says we have to entertain them. And, most positively, nobody says we have to believe them. BOOM!
“For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows,” 2 Corinthians 1:5.
We can sort out the who’s-to-blame-for-what after we get some solid ground under our feet and a little energy back into our lives. But we still won’t want Job’s comforters anywhere around us…… we will want people who care.
To me not to be kind
Is evil of the mind.
No need to pray or preach,
Let us our children teach
With every fond caress
Pity and gentleness:
So in the end may we
God’s Kingdom cause to be.”
– By R.W. Service.
In His Shadow,
~ Mary Lindow ©
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Mary Lindow has a passion for encouraging others – all generations, careers or vocations to live expressing excellence through personal integrity, healthy accountability, and wise management of talents and skills. She’s a sought after keynote, inspirational, humorous speaker and teacher across the U.S.A and internationally in Ministers & Spiritual leaders Conferences, and training seminars for various organizations.