August 26

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“How can your empty clichés comfort me? All your explanations are lies!” (Job 21:34 NLT).

From: August 26, 2019

OFFERING COMFORT THAT COMFORTS

On top of all of Job’s grief he had to suffer the “empty clichés” of his so-called friends. Job had lost his children, his wealth and even his own health, yet those who came to pay their respects had no real comfort to give him. They even began to argue with him that he must have sinned in some way to have brought such catastrophe upon himself. With friends such as these, who needs enemies?
 
When someone we care about experiences a loss, we must take care about what we say to them. When we feel tempted to offer “empty clichés,” we must learn to stay quiet and listen. Don’t say, “I know how you feel.” Because you don’t. Take care not to offer your story of loss in an attempt to commiserate. It won’t help them. Are you there to comfort or be comforted?
 
And all of those other clichés are just as empty. “Now she has her angel wings,” or “Remember, every cloud has a silver lining,” or “Tomorrow’s another day” may sound good in your head, but they won’t help your grieving friend.
 
“So, what can I say?” You ask.
 
You might try: “I don’t know what to say. I’m so sorry.” And then stop talking and start listening. Be present for them. Hold their hand. Don’t interrupt when they speak. Pray for them. Bring them comfort food and drink. And when the Lord moves you to speak, offer them words that come from Him.
 
PRAYER: Dear Father, teach us to comfort others with Your agape love. For love listens before speaking and love gives without being asked. Thank You Lord that whatever comfort we have for others is comfort You have given us when we have suffered. Give us wisdom and power to pour out that same comfort, knowing that You always give us extra comfort for others. And Lord, please don’t let us be like Job’s friends. Help us to be like Jesus, In His name we pray, amen.

“As a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead” (2 Corinthians 1:9 NLT).

From: August 26, 2018

LEARNING TO RELY ON GOD ALONE
The apostle Paul wrote in his second letter to the Corinthians how the hardships he and his fellow believers had experienced in Asia Minor had nearly crushed them. Yet, their experience taught them to rely only on God.
 
God often uses trouble and suffering to crush our self-reliance in order to teach us to rely wholly on Him. The self-reliant see no need of God. Those who have learned to rely on God alone, see no need for any other. For they have learned that only God can raise the dead.

“The rich and the poor have this in common, the Lord is the maker of them all” (Proverbs 22:2 NKJV).

From: August 26, 2017

The Hebrew is literally, “The rich and poor meet…” What does this “meeting” imply? Perhaps it points to the human tendency to focus on the externals, such as wealth and material things, that often cause the rich and the poor to clash. Or perhaps it is an observation that the rich and the poor need one another. However, I like the idea that it points to the great leveling of the gospel that invites all to come to the cross on equal terms, namely, through repentance of the sin that besets rich and poor alike, and believing in Christ as the only means of salvation. It is this gospel that allows the poor to boast in their “exaltation,” and the rich in their “humiliation” (James 1:9-11). The ground is level at the cross. All who approach will recognize their common need. All who receive must recognize their common Lord, who is the Maker and Savior of us all.

“You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many.” (2 Corinthians 1:11 ESV)

From: August 26, 2016

Paul requested that the Corinthian church be in prayer for him and his fellow ministers of the gospel. This was a request for corporate prayers, which he called real “help.” The modern church often overlooks the help that is found in prayer, especially the combined and unified prayers of the many. Do you need help today? Ask the saints of God to join together to pray on your behalf.

“Why do the wicked live and become old, Yes, become mighty in power?” (Job 21:7 NKJV)

From: August 26, 2015

Job’s friends kept challenging him to repent because their simplistic assumption was that since evil had befallen Job, he must have done something to deserve it. Yet, Job continued to claim that God had done him an injustice. He also questioned their hypothesis further, by asking why God would let the “wicked live and become old” and “mighty in power.” Job was wrestling with the problem of evil. Why do bad people get to enjoy good things? And why do bad things happen to good people? Where is God’s justice? Job is not the only person to ask these questions. We still struggle with them today. Perhaps we can catch a glimpse of understanding by hearing what Jesus said about this in the gospel of Matthew. He said that the Father “makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matt. 5:45). The truth is that God sheds His grace on all of us, even those who have made Him their enemy. Yet, someday an account will be given. And only those found in Christ Jesus will be saved.

“He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us” (2 Corinthians 1:4 NLT)

From: August 26, 2014

We are often called to minister to others out of the very place that we ourselves have once suffered. The fatherless find comfort in the Father and grow up to care for the widow and orphan. The cancer survivor visits the chemo patient. The addict whom Christ has set free declares the good news to those still in bondage. This ministry would not be possible were it offered from our brokenness. It is possible because it comes from the overflow of comfort that we ourselves have received from God. Have you received this excess of comfort that flows first to you and then through you to others?

“He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us” (2 Corinthians 1:4)

From: August 26, 2012

God gives us an excess of comfort in the places where we have suffered. Once we are comforted, we are able to comfort others who have suffered in the same way. Have you been healed of a deadly disease? Delivered from an addiction? Found peace after losing a loved one? Your greatest hurt may now be your greatest gift to others. Let God’s comfort overflow to those who hurt where you once did.

The challenge of reading Job

From: August 26, 2009

Reading Job is challenging. Beginning like a narrative, it shifts into a kind of Shakespearian poetry/dialogue (More accurately, Shakespeare may be more “Jobian” than vice versa. After all, Job is the oldest book in the Bible and one of the most ancient in human history)
Reading these lengthy conversations, I grow impatient with the narrative’s slow advance.
I feel the same way when I read Hamlet or Macbeth. I suppose today’s action-oriented culture has caused us to lose track of the beauty of the give and take of human conversation.
But taking the time to read each day, I’ve noticed a cumulative effect. I can’t wait for God to speak. Both Job and his “friends” are speaking from their limited perspectives. As their voices drone on and on, the need to hear from God increases.
Perhaps the Psalmist had been reading Job when the Spirit inspired him to write: “Be still and know that I am God.” (Psa 46:10)
I tire of human wisdom.