From the Pastors' Desks

Spiritual Health and Suffering

One of the things that struck me in Job 12 (but I didn’t have time to address) is an observation Job makes in 12:5.
   
"In the thought of one who is at ease there is contempt for misfortune;
it is ready for those whose feet slip."

In other words, Job observed in his friends, a common human trait – a tendency, among those who have not suffered deeply, to condemn those who do.
 
Isn’t that true? As Shakespeare noted, “He jests at scars that never felt a wound”. It is so easy when we are “at ease” to look down on those who suffer. Why? Because we subconsciously assume that, in some way, they must have deserved it. Misfortune is “for those whose feet slip.” For those who messed up, failed, didn’t do it right.
 
I have to confess that our middle-class, West-Michigan mindset has a flavor of this.
  • If Detroit is being devastated by the virus, we might inwardly shrug and think: well it’s Detroit - the disease is just following the dysfunction. It’s not our problem.
  • If you come from a stable, godly family, where all the children are walking with the Lord – it’s easy to subtly and silently condemn those whose children are struggling. The parents clearly didn’t “do” it right.
 
One of God’s purposes in our own suffering is to gain true sympathy and compassion for those whom we used to overlook.  Have you ever experienced some trial or tragedy and felt convicted about how you had once judged or ignored those with similar trials?
 
How might God be using these days to create hearts of greater compassion? We are in a battle here. In the midst of all the talk and chatter about physical and economic health – remember that spiritual health is what God is pursuing. And spiritual health looks like love. And love looks like genuine compassion and concern for those who are suffering. Who could you bless today with a word of compassion, a note of encouragement, a gift of kindness? Let’s do it. Who knows how blessed we might be in return?
 

Pastor Dale

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