Drop Your Arms

I came across an interesting passage in the Bible this morning.

But let me digress; these last few weeks have been a bit “weird”, to say the least.  Not physically, but mentally.  As it turns out, I had my yearly scheduled birthday, bringing me one year from the Big Decade that I’ve been anticipating with both thankfulness and dread for these last nine years.

If that wasn’t enough of a downer on the “life is mortal” theme, my brother-in-law has been quite ill, even to the point of having to cancel a world class cruise/trip that he and my sister were looking forward to taking.

But wait, there’s more.  Dispersed thru this “enough trouble” was a particularly nasty family feud.  I thanked God daily that it wasn’t in MY immediate family, but it is in a sense, since it’s my extended family.  I’ll spare you the details, you can probably just fill in the blanks with someone from your own family.  The point was, we just kept scratching our heads at each new development and saying, “You’ve got to be kidding!”

So you could say things haven’t been all roses around here.

But then, I came across this verse in the Book of Job.  Actually reading Oswald Chambers this morning directed it to my attention, and caused me to remember that I’ve walked thru much darker days than what we’ve been experiencing now.

Job 42:10 says this,  After Job had prayed for his friends, the Lord restored his fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before.”

When our son lay dying, people would come up to me with all kinds of condolences.  They would say things like, “Oh I lost a child when I was pregnant and I know just how you feel”; or “My 5 yr-old died, and I can tell you all about how your should feel. You know, those sorts of ‘helpful comments’ that are not always so helpful.   I think I managed to remain polite to these dear friends, but what I really wanted was to punch them in the face. I felt that they had absolutely NO idea of how this was for me, and for them to smile and suggest they ‘knew’ what was going on in the innermost reaches of my heart just resulted in twisting my hurting soul in a way that made me mad.

I think Job must have gritted his teeth more than once when his ‘friends’ tried to help, first by consoling him and then pointing out what he might have done wrong.  And then in the early verses of Job, chapter 42, God is telling Job’s friends that He’s going to cause Job to pray for THEM because of their poor advice, and they had better be thankful.

And (I believe) God worked in Job’s heart so that he could actually turn around and do just that; pray for his friends. The reason I believe God worked in Job’s heart is because I know He once worked in mine.

After Trevor died, the day came when we returned to Japan and to our home, to the place we had left over a year earlier with so much joy and anticipation. Going through Trevor’s room and seeing everything he had set up so carefully for his return just brought the grief back all the more.

I had hardly begun the process of packing up his room when the phone rang. It was a Japanese friend. Without even a greeting, she said, “My son died the day he was born.”  That’s all she said, and what I felt that moment surprised me.  I actually felt SORRY for her!  Why?  Because she didn’t have 16 wonderful years with her son like I did.

You see, God changed my heart there somewhere.  He took away my anger and feelings of injustice and made me a little bit nicer again.

Feeling that rather unknown twinge of pity for someone else, I knew then that I was going to get well. That old feeling, long neglected, of reaching out beyond myself made me feel alive and loved again. And I knew then and there that eventually I could get well.

And thankfully, God is doing something similar in that family “situation” I mentioned above. So we’re all breathing a sigh of relief, thanking God that He can and still does step into peoples’ lives and lead them to sensibility.

He did it for Job and his friends; He did it for me. He’ll do it for you. The first step is often the hardest. Stop clutching yourself for comfort, drop your arms, then lift them toward someone who needs you. Pray for that person, invest yourself in someone else’s needs, and miraculously you’ll find your own being taken care of as well.

Love ya like a sister,

Marsha

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