April 24, 2020 - Job
When I woke up this morning, I couldn't help but think about one of our colleagues in the ministry who has recently been diagnosed with covid-19. This colleague has devoted his life to ministry, but what I struggle with is the suffering his family has had to recently endure. This man that I consider to be a godly man of integrity and impeccable character has had to endure so much. I began to think even more about what his wife and family must be feeling about right now. Not long ago the family had to go through the agony of a son dying. Recently the wife's mother died. The wife herself has had to endure her recent season of sickness, but even now she and family must face the reality of her husband being severely ill from coronavirus. Again, yes, I struggle with this morning's wake up message because it places a burden on my heart to know that so much is on the hearts of this family. This is one of those cases that we make the statement, "When it rains it pours."
If we were to tell the truth, we would admit that there are times that we become displeased with God and question His motives. Sometimes we sit on the sidelines and think we have all the theological answers, but let me assure you that all of the answers we need are in the Word of God.
The first Biblical character that came to mind was Job who we know was blameless and a man of complete integrity. He like my colleague feared God and did no evil, yet he lost everything he had. Let me be upfront and honest with you. I could not this morning find comfort in these words of Job, "I came naked from my mother's womb, and I will be naked when I leave. The Lord gave me what I had and the Lord has taken it away. Praise the name of the Lord!"
We know that we will all face death and no one will escape it. But we believers know that Christ has overcome death, and when we put our faith in him, we will share in his life. I would imagine there are all sorts of emotions experienced by the aforementioned family right now. I am so glad that we serve a God that allows us to ask questions. Didn't Jesus as he hung on the cross say these words, "My God my God, why have you forsaken me? (Matthew 27:46). Jesus was crying out in anguish just like those who are grieving the pains of sorrow and sickness.
I am sure many of us have experienced pain and suffering and wanted to ask God questions, but felt uncomfortable in doing so. The Bible does say, "Ask, and it will be given to you, seek, and you will find, knock, and it will be opened to you." Matthew 7:7
I do however find comfort in the words of the psalmist, "Yet I still belong to you; you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, leading me to a glorious destiny. Whom I have in heaven but you? I desire you more than anything on earth. My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever. " Psalm 73:23-24, 26
Knowing that God is always present provides a sense of comfort and confidence as we go through our seasons of pain and darkness. I share these words from a priest murdered in Bolivia, "Train us, Lord, to fling ourselves upon the impossible, for behind the impossible is your grace and your presence; we cannot fall into emptiness. The future is an enigma, our record is covered by mist, but we want to go on giving ourselves, because you continue hoping amid the night and weeping tears through a thousand human eyes." Luis Espinal
Our friend Job would not let us forget that all things are possible with God. There came a point that Job said to God, "I take back everything I said, and I sit in dust and ashes to show my repentance." Job 42: 6
May we please continue to pray for the pastor and his family! Some of you may have lost loved ones to covid-19 or natural death, but may something in this message comfort you? Regardless of how one dies, it still hurts.
Not a sermon, just a thought!
Robert Earl Slade, Pastor