The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe…
"A Most Special Altar"
"And the Lord turned the captivity of Job when he prayed for his friends" (Job 42:10).
Certainly, we understand Job's focus on himself when his trial began, and as it continued. Pain, loss, suffering, and sorrow does that. We feel our hurts so personally, whether as they race through nerve endings, or inflict grief on emotions. God made us to feel, and troubles cause that in a way that keenly confirms our personal existence. No less than the Lord Jesus Christ cried out on the cross of Calvary, "I thirst" (expressing physical pain), and "My God, My God why hast Thou forsaken Me (expressing emotional and spiritual grief - John 19:28; Matthew 27:46). Thus, it is not wrong or unspiritual to feel pain in personal terms, and wonder about its why's and wherefores.
Our sufferings and sorrows do, however, built a very special altar within our hearts, a place Job was led to visit as his trial culminated. He interceded for friends ("miserable comforters" actually) who so poorly served him during his challenge (Job 16:2). Indeed, those who should have provided solace and support to a righteous man in his sufferings instead accused him of being a wicked man under God's hand of judgment. This elicited God's disfavor and potential chastening upon Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar (Job 42:7). God spared them, and doubtless, Job's prayers served as a means of such mercy. Moreover, a powerful lesson lies before us: like Job, and even more, like the Lord Jesus, our pains can lead us to seek God's provision for others.
"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).
What a wonder that the love of Christ can so work in a believer's heart that our losses become gain for others. To pray from our pain that others in need might know God's provision can only proceed in us from the Christ who sought grace for His enemies as He suffered and died on the cross of Calvary: "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do" (Luke 23:34). We know, of course, how bountifully God has answered our Savior's selfless intercession for more than 2,000 years. How might He answer our requests prayed for others as our pains remind that others hurt, and that we have opportunity to unselfishly seek God's balm for them? "The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given unto us" (Romans 5:5).
Perhaps in Heaven, some fellow citizen of that holy place will encounter us with a question along a glimmering street of gold:
"Do you recall the prayer you prayed for me on June 11, 2022?" On that day when you were hurting, you prayed for 'somebody, somewhere' who was also facing difficulty and challenge. I was that somebody, or at least, I was one of them. Our Heavenly Father answered your prayer for others, prayed from an altar of pain. Through your intercession, He led and enabled me to face my challenge."
Certainly, we will join that brother or sister in falling to our knees to praise the God whose love leads us to visit a most special altar in our hearts, the altar of Christ's self-sacrificial love. Like Job, He will lead us to seek grace for others as motivated by our own needs and challenges. What a wonder, as the love of Christ for us and within us becomes His love ministered though us upon a most special altar.
"Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others."
Weekly Memory Verse
"For Thou, LORD, hast made me glad through Thy work: I will triumph in the works of Thy hands."