For the beauty of the earth, For the beauty of the skies,
For the love which from our birth Over and around us lies,
Lord of all, to thee we raise This our grateful hymn of praise.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Job Study Week 4

When I finished my study (Abounding Hope) this morning I turned on the radio to K-LOVE (OK, it was the online radio) and the first song they played was Worn, by Tenth Avenue North. I thought of Job, and all his sufferings.  I thought of knowing what to say and when. His friends got a big FAIL in that department. Good ole Bildad even went so far to say, in Ch 8, that Job's kids basically got what they deserved (vs.4). Wow! I was pretty blown away when I read it. Now there's a guy who could have used a lesson in when to keep your mouth shut.

As always, my mind went to people I know who believe that every bad thing that happens to us is because of some sin, secret or otherwise, in our lives. That God is always looking for ways to punish us. I try hard not to think about these people, coz it just depresses me, but this time it was useful. I thought, you know, when bad stuff happens, I already know that I should never, ever tell those people. I then realized that when we are talking with people by the way, just in general conversation, nothing serious, we lay out for them whether or not they can trust us with the big stuff. By our reaction to others problems, to certain news reports, etc., people get a general idea of how we will react to them in their hour of need. If we verbalize condemnation of people at every turn, even for little things, others will know that, even if not openly to their face, somewhere we will condemn them.

I had never really thought of it that way before. When I was younger (like 41 or less) I trusted almost every I knew, carte blanche. But in the middle of my 41st year I learned a very hard lesson, namely, that not everyone, and especially not everyone bearing the name Christian, can be trusted. As what I thought was my world was pulled out from under me like a rug, I learned that there are people who care for those in pain, and people who hate you, even if you are in pain.

In hindsight, I probably already knew that. There were huge things in my life that I shared with no one, because I knew no one who could be trusted with them. I had apparently been listening to others enough that I just knew I could not tell them what was going on. Eventually there were a few I did trust, but not like I trusted with other things.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, how many friends we have is no judge of how godly we are, or even how nice we are, but how many friends we have whose first thought when their world crashes is "I can call <insert your name here>. She'll pray/help/not judge" says more about us than anything else in our lives.

Are we that kind of person? Are we watching our conversation with our friends? Do they think we can be there for them? Will they be comfortable sharing even their darkest moments with us? When they are "worn," and when they think, "I know I need to lift my eyes up, but I'm too weak..." will they know they can turn to us? That they can count on us to strengthen their faith and point them to Christ? Maybe that's what the lesson is in these past two years, (Or at least, it might be one of them.) to learn the importance of knowing what to say & when to say it *before* the hard times.

On Sunday the preacher was talking about something that I probably could remember if I thought hard enough, but he had these three steps: Pray, Prepare, Practice. I think I'll steal borrow it for my purposes. When we are regularly in prayer so we are in open communication with God; when we prepare by reading God's Word so we know what is good and what is bad, and how God wants us to treat others; when we practice by using the kinds of speech  God has commanded (Col 4:6; 1 Tim 4:12 eg) in our everyday conversations, then we will let people know that we are ready to truly be their friend.

Ironically, my day ended Worn as well...

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