Elisabeth and I were chatting online today (no, not in the same house, though we have done that before) and it seems like a lot of our friends and family are going through a season of suffering. It is interesting, because simultaneously I see and hear of great things happening in the lives of our family and friends at the same time.
Our friends, Dave and Deanne, are moving from CA to the NW to be chuch-plant missionaries (they are going to coach new pastors who are planting the much needed churches in the NW). Friends, Byron and Shannon, just got married this last week. We have other friends getting married soon, some having babies soon, and others starting a new venture. I have family members who have just returned from missions; got accepted to a new exciting opportunity; and ones who just expanded their family. Very cool stuff!
But the suffering in the lives of others we are close to still exists in big ways. We have a friend who just lost a baby niece. Another who had a grandmother just die. I have a friend from a previous church who is struggling with her mom’s cancer. Just today a good friend of ours let us know about a significant mass on his liver. Just prior to that email, I received an instant message from a young man saying that his cousin had just died this morning. Very tough stuff.
I do not know why the Lord works in His mysterious ways. But I do know He has provided examples for us as to how we are to respond. I am drawn to the ends of chapters one and two of Job. I hope these passages can encourage you to stay strong in your sorrows and celebrate the gifts He continues to bestow upon us.
Job 1:20-22: At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.” In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.
Job 2:9-10 His wife said to him, “Are you still holding on to 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.
I have a heavy heart for those suffering; however, I am choosing to praise God for the great things He is doing in the trials and in the triumphs. They often go hand-in-hand.