The year 2012 has not started out that great for me the health arena. I’ve been feeling terrible and still don’t know for sure what the problem is, though hopefully will find out later this week.
Yesterday in particular I was feeling exhausted and weary, at my wit’s end. Then today, two things came to my attention that were an encouragement.
First, before church this morning I read the next 3 chapters of Job on my Bible reading schedule, chapters 17 through 19. In chapter 18, Job’s “friend” Bildad essentially tells him to quit talking about his innocence because it is clear that he is among wicked based on what God has done to him. Bildad is sure he knows that Job’s loss of family and wealth, as well as his physical ailments, are God’s punishment for Job’s wickedness.
Job then responds in chapter 19. He admits that God has struck him down, but still maintains that it is not as a punishment for any wrongdoing. Then Job says:
21 “Have mercy on me, my friends, have mercy,
for the hand of God has struck me.
22 Must you also persecute me, like God does?
Haven’t you chewed me up enough?
23 “Oh, that my words could be recorded.
Oh, that they could be inscribed on a monument,
24 carved with an iron chisel and filled with lead,
engraved forever in the rock.
25 “But as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives,
and he will stand upon the earth at last.
26 And after my body has decayed,
yet in my body I will see God!
27 I will see him for myself.
Yes, I will see him with my own eyes.
I am overwhelmed at the thought!
Job 19:21-27 (NLT).
I was encouraged by this passage for two reasons. One reason is that I realized how blessed I am to not have friends like Bildad. Instead, I have friends who are understanding and encouraging, who do not persecute me and tell me my physical ailments are a result of my sinfulness. The other reason is that it reminded me that my Redeemer lives, that Jesus will stand upon the earth in the end and that I will yet see my God. This current trial is only temporary but life with Christ is eternal.
The second thing that came to my attention was during the sermon at church. We are in week two of our pastor’s sermon series on mixed messages. The topic today was Trials, Tribulations, and Trouble.
There were several points to the sermon message, but the one that resonated with me today was the point about how hard it is to carry our burdens alone, and how that sends the wrong message to those around us. The world says we should suck it up and bear our own burdens. But the Bible tells us to help carry one another’s burdens and to rely on God to help carry our burdens.
Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV).
As an illustration of this point, our pastor had a glass of water. He asked what happens if you try to hold up a glass of water. The answer is that the longer you hold it up the more tired your arm gets and the glass feels heavier and heavier. But if you hand the glass to someone else and they carry it for you for a while, and then another friend steps in to help carry it, then the burden is easier to bear.
A prayer for my health was included in our Prayers of the People and I had several people ask what was going on after church. They all agreed to pray for me and encouraged me. I felt the weight of the burden of my health concerns lighten, knowing that others are helping to bear my burden in prayer. I was also encouraged by the reminder that Jesus is there to help bear my burden as well.
My Redeemer lives and He gives me rest when I am weary.