The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe…
(Thanks to our dear friend Tom W. for inspiration on this one)
"His Glory, Their Gain"
Pain either drives us into into flesh, or outward unto the Lord and the needs of others.
"And Job spake, and said… For my sighing cometh before I eat, and my roarings are poured out like the waters. For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me" (Job 1:2; 24-25).
"Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort, who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God" (II Corinthians 1:3-4).
Our natural response to pain involves "I, me, and my." We wonder why we hurt, how we are going to find comfort, and fear that we may not. Meaning no lack of sympathy to Job, who suffered so greatly, the book that chronicles his challenges with pain is filled with "I, me, and my." We all understand this, and doubtless have all echoed our brother of old in our own times of hurting.
Note the difference in the Apostle Paul's response to pain. First, he blesses God and affirms His comfort "in all our tribulation" (emphasis added). Paul then looks outwardly to ministry for others made possible by his own miseries. The Apostle realized that the Christ who suffered and died on the cross for God's glory and the needs of others now lives in believers through the presence of the indwelling Holy Spirit. Thereby, our Lord enables us to view our pains in unselfish devotion to God and others, praying a quality of prayers for people we could never pray without our challenges, and being prepared to minister to others with compassion and wisdom that only comes through our hurts. "Walk, even as He walked" (I John 2:6)
Back to Job. Our brother also blessedly came to the realization we consider.
"Then Job answered the LORD, and said, I know that Thou canst do everything, and that no thought can be withholden from Thee" (Job 42:1-3)
"And the LORD turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends" (Job 42:10).
In his redemption, Job comes forth from his self-centered focus, first looking to God, and then to the needs of his friends. This was his greatest deliverance, not from pain and loss, but from self-centeredness. The glory of God was at stake in Job's life because he so openly confessed the Lord (Job 1:1-5). The needs of others also beckoned because any reading of the book of Job reveals how blind his friends were to God and His ways. They needed God's redemption, which He purposed to administer through Job's prayers. Thus, by the Lord's mighty working, Job came forth from the darkness of "I, me, and my" unto the light of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit's devotion to others, at whatever cost. "God is love… charity (love) seeketh not her own" (I John 4:8; I Corinthians 13:5).
What if the pains we know provide a way to know, love, trust, obey, and glorify God in ways known only in our challenges? What if they build an altar of prayer for others, while also preparing us to administer the love of the Lord Jesus in helps for others made possible by our hurts? What if the Christ who lives in us now walks in us along the same paths His blessed feet once traveled, leading us to see our sufferings as the basis for glorifying God and blessing others? Our brothers of old, Job and Paul, discovered such love to be the very heart of our Lord's way in the lives of those who trust Him. We will discover the same as we see our pains in the light of God and others rather than the darkness of I, me, and my.
Our sorrow, His glory,
our loss, their gain.
This tells the story
of our Father's way.
He ever works to save us
from the I, the me, the my.
He lives in love within us
to lead us by His life
whereby we see the wonder,
of a heart that looks away
from itself to God and others,
such glory and such grace!
Yes, our sorrow, His glory,
our loss, their gain.
"Before I was afflicted, I went astray, but now have I kept Thy Word."
"For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ. And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation."
(II Corinthians 1:5-6)
"Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. So then death worketh in us, but life in you."
(II Corinthians 4:10-12)
Weekly Memory Verse
"And the LORD turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends."