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It's Ok Not to Be Ok Day 16

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Scripture: Job 2:11-13 When Job’s three friends, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite, heard about all the troubles that had come upon him, they set out from their homes and met together by agreement to go and sympathize with him and comfort him.  When they saw him from a distance, they could hardly recognize him; they began to weep aloud, and they tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads. Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights. No one said a word to him, because they saw how great his suffering was.

Devotional: Imagine this scene: Job’s friends hear about his calamity and set out to offer comfort.  We can quickly see the devastating effect Job’s afflictions had upon him, because his appearance was such that they barely recognized him.  And they literally could not speak a word. All they did was simply sit with him for seven days.  Seven days! Can you imagine sitting in silence for that long to comfort your suffering friend? 

Romans 12:15  says, “Rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep.”  That’s what these friends were doing.  And that is what we are called to do as well.  This kind of comfort is called the ministry of presence.  Simply put, you are with someone in the midst of their pain, just as Job’s friends were. 

If you’ve ever suffered greatly, and been the recipient of the ministry of presence, you know how powerful it is. Even if someone just stops by briefly to be with you, there is such a great level of comfort given that cannot be explained. 

If you have never suffered greatly and been the recipient of this, you may feel you don’t know what to say or do when someone is suffering through trials or pains.  Let this be an encouragement for you to simply offer your presence. 

Audrey Assad says, “When we avoid our own suffering or the suffering of others, we are actually avoiding Christ.”  When we learn to embrace suffering, either our own, or of that of another, we draw nearer to Christ.  Philippians 3:10 says: “want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participate in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death…”

There is something so liberating about understanding suffering and it’s ability to draw us nearer to our Lord, whether it is our own or that of others.  Will you allow that kind of intimacy with God a place in your life?

Reflect:

  • Reflect upon concept of the ministry of presence. Is there someone you know who is suffering right now that could benefit from your presence?  If so, take action to spend some quiet time with them.

It's Ok Not to Be Ok Day 15

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Scripture: Job 2:9-10  His wife said to him, “Are you still maintaining your integrity? Curse God and die!” He replied, “You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” In all this, Job did not sin in what he said.

Devotional: This week’s devotions focus on trials and suffering, and the eternal perspective that can give.  There is no greater example of not being OK than in the story of Job.  In this week’s message, we walked through Job’s story and how he struggled with and questioned God in the midst of his suffering.  And when reading through the entire story, we see that there is more to it than what is happening on earth.  There is also a heavenly confrontation going on that gives us an eternal vision.

What is most fascinating about Job’s story is, not only his struggle with what is happening, but the response of those around him.  When we suffer trials, whether physical, emotional or spiritual, we don’t suffer alone. Our friends and family see what we are going through and have differing responses to our suffering.

We can see what Job’s wife had to say about the suffering he was enduring.  After seeing him lose everything:  his children, livestock, livelihood and good health, she was incensed that he would still worship God.  Curse God and die!”  she said.  That pretty much sums up her perspective. 

But Job’s response gives great insight into his faith and his understanding of God’s sovereignty:  Shall we accept good from God and not trouble?”  He innately knew what we are told in the New Testament:  “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of heavenly lights.” James 1:17

Job was willing to take the bad with the good, and he put his hope in the One to whom he had entrusted his life. 

Reflect:

  • As you have gone through your own suffering, have you responded more like Job or his wife?
  • How might Job’s story encourage you in the midst of your own suffering or that of someone you love?

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