Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Comfort and Perspective

Since the fall, I have been involved in a Friday morning Bible study focusing on Job. I have to admit, when I learned that Job was the focus of the school year length study, I was a little disappointed. I have tended, in the past, to view Job as a "bummer" book. Lots of long-winded complaining and arguing, misunderstanding God, suffering.

The study we are using is called Job: Lessons in Comfort, and has changed my mind about the book of Job.  In addition to really focusing on the specifics of the arguments, the study connects Job to God's promises, both in the form of His covenant with His people and also Job's request for an "arbitrator" who comes later in the form of Jesus.  And the book is strong in the area of application. How can we use the lessons from Job to learn to comfort others and find comfort for ourselves?

Many times in the past months I have thought about how timely this study has been for me. True, my comfort needs have been minimal, but my opportunities to comfort have been many. It seems like every other week someone close to us has been diagnosed with cancer, suffered a serious heart ailment, had a miscarriage, lost a job, lost a loved one or something similarly life-shaking.

How to respond to those that are in need of comfort? I still have a lot to learn, but the key points from our discussions so far include:

* Be willing to silently mourn when needed
* Offer support in whatever way is needed
* Remember our brothers and sisters in prayer
* Keep focus and hope on Jesus
* Learn God's promises and understand that they are solid

Throughout the course of the past few months of working on this study, I have also gotten some enhanced perspective on my own problems.  Having a busy husband and two toddlers is hardly a "problem" compared to what other people are facing.  Struggling with anxiety is a chance to come to God in vulnerability and know that He makes things right. Last Sunday, our Pastor's sermon was taken from Psalms 42 & 43 and focused on attributes of prayer, but he said one thing that really stood out from me as I've been thinking more about the idea of comfort and perspective:

"Think about this: What are you so down in the dumps about? Did God fall from His throne in heaven?... Did God stop loving you?... Did His grace run out?"

Praise God, the answer is no.  And really, those are the questions that matter.

No comments:

Post a Comment