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Clergy View: A true friend

Consider Jesus in a fresh way today, especially if you are suffering.

Two bibles stacked to represent Clergy View
We are part of The Trust Project.

Tragedy strikes. Your world is thrown upside down. As the shock settles, the lump in your throat travels to your stomach, where it sits like a rock in your gut. Your hand trembles and moves across the sofa and you reach for your phone. Grief has stolen your voice, you’re not ready to speak. You text your friends. “Help, come, I need you!”

Matt Nagel
Pastor Matt Nagel

Many of us have been here; even reading those words may bring a sharp pain and reminder of times and seasons gone by where you’ve hurt. This parallels the narrative we read in the book of Job. Job was the best man of the east, faithful in life and in his walk with God. Unknown to him, spiritual realities were at play. The accuser, Satan, had dared to challenge God’s character and promises. Satan implicitly accused God of running a protection racket. “No one really follows you; no one has really been changed by you. You are a fake.”

God defends his character and glory and points to Job as He restrains, but allows Satan to attack. Job loses nearly everything. His 10 children, his livelihood, his future and the respect of others watching him suffer. Job’s friends come to join him. Eliphaz, Bildad, Zophar and eventually Elihu tags along.

Something shocking happens. These friends come and after they show care and rock back and forth with Job in the ashes, they open their mouths. Although well meaning, these friends take turns in an extended dialogue going back and forth with suggestions, comments, rebukes, zings and a plethora of theology lessons about God. What was once aimed as being a time of comfort, has turned into an outright attack and misunderstanding of Job, his situation and even God’s character. In one translation, Job responds this way:

“I’ve had all I can take of your talk. What a bunch of miserable comforters! Is there no end to your windbag speeches? What’s your problem that you go on and on like this?” (Job 16:1-3)

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Job finds out, just as we often do in our relationships, that our friends are imperfect, flawed and ultimately unable to fully and truly bring the comfort we need and desire. The plain truth is this, Job’s story and our lived out experience tells us our circumstances and our friends will fail us.

When we’re disappointed, when spoken and unspoken expectations are unmet, when we have grief and our friends and family fail us, where do we go?

Many years later, Jesus the God-man, would come and live a perfect life, die a sacrificial death and physically rise again to new life. Offering forgiveness, restoration, peace and joy to any who would trust in Him and His work. This good news on our behalf means not simply Heaven one day, but God in you and with you now. Jesus offers to be the true, unfailing, faithful friend to sinners and sufferers.

Consider Jesus in a fresh way today, especially if you are suffering.

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Related Topics: RELIGIONFAITHFAITH COLUMN
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