April 30, 2016

Job 16:19-21 Even now my witness is in heaven;
my advocate is on high.
My intercessor is my friend
as my eyes pour out tears to God;
on behalf of a man he pleads with God
as a man pleads for his friend.

One of the most remarkable things about the whole Book of Job is Job’s conviction that he had an intercessor on his side in heaven. After all that happened to him, and then his friends heaping pious platitudes on him instead of providing real comfort, he is still convinced that he’s got someone on his side in heaven. That had to be a divine revelation, because nothing else makes real sense. It’s not until Jesus’ resurrection and ascension that we have clear theological basis for such a conviction, but now we know that Jesus is at the Father’s side interceding for us. (Hebrews 7:25) Even if we go through trials that rival those of Job, if we have that assurance we can make it through. The hymn, It Is Well With My Soul expresses that beautifully, and it indeed arose from just such a tragic situation. That hymn perfectly illustrates Paul’s words of encouragement to the Corinthians: “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4) God doesn’t waste anything, and His ultimate motive is always love, even in trials such as Job’s. If we can get that truth down into the depths of our being, then we can make it through anything.

Objectively speaking, my trials have been pretty light, however they felt at the time. They have never come close to what my brothers and sisters in Muslim countries endure for their faith. That said, all suffering is subjective, to the point that it is only as bad as we think it is. That is to say, having a pity party actually makes my suffering worse! I recall people’s reactions when I was hospitalized for surgery for a fairly good-sized skin cancer. They expected me to be all distraught, and I was like, “It’s just a basal cell carcinoma, so cutting it off is all I need. I won’t even need radiation or chemotherapy.” For me, it was something of a vacation, really, and interesting interaction with former nursing school students. I have found that the more I am aware of how blessed I am, the more I am able to enjoy those blessings and get through the rough spots.

Father, I deal with people all the time who are convinced their problems are terrible, and they suffer proportionately. Help me speak Your truth, Your comfort to them without putting them down, so that they may see themselves and their situations from Your perspective and rejoice in You, for their blessing and Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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