I apologize for my absence due to thyroid and anxiety issues, (and other health issues) which leads me to discuss about pain and suffering today. I found that in the body of Christ sometimes it not talked about or even taboo. I thought that maybe I shouldn't share until I've overcome what's going on. Well....God has other plans. He told me that sometimes it's useful to share while you're going through. As a Christian sometimes I've found it easier not to share the hardships and to pretend that I have it all together when in fact I have nothing together. Only by the grace of God that any of my life is in order. And everyone needs to know that Christians aren't exempt from trials. So, here I am sharing a bit of my story. I was diagnosed with hypothyroid 3 years ago, anxiety has been a side effect unfortunately and did not manifest until a couple years later. Up until recently I struggled with sharing about anxiety because I was ashamed and fearful. I've received cookie cutter answers like "Girl you are overreacting. You just need to calm down." At some point I even questioned my relationship with Christ because of the suffering that I endure at times. As I began studying pain and suffering God directed me to the book of Job. To say the least I've learned a lot! So let's chat....
When I started the book of Job it seemed that he is a pretty upstanding person. He respected God and even would purify his children after days of celebration in case they sinned. He was considered to be the richest person in the area.
The next part caught me off guard. After Satan had been checking out everything on earth, the Lord brought up Job's name. I'm thinking...dang Lord you going to throw Job under the bus like that?! So I kept on reading, I had to know what was going to happen. After it was all said and done the Lord only offered up Job's name because He knew that Job would be able to handle whatever the devil brought his way. Something else that caught my attention is that EVERYONE has to answer to the Lord. Satan could not do anything to Job without His permission.
As of these past few months I had some things happen to me back to back with no "rest" period in between. As you can imagine I got pretty stressed and frustrated wondering why God would allow this. This is the same thing that happened with Job, except some of his occurred on the same day. Can you imagine losing all your material items (car, home, children, job) then pile on health issues?! Whew!
Let's keep going...after losing all his possessions Job grieved. Even in his grieving he still worshiped Christ and didn't blame God. I learned that yes, it is OK to complain/grieve but we still have to praise God no matter what.
After Job was inflicted with boils his own wife encouraged him to give up on God and die. We may have some own people in our lives that do the same to us and may ask questions like "What's the point of serving God if you're going through all of this?" This is where we have to be careful who we surround ourselves with and allow speaking into our lives. Job's friends came to comfort him, but they were wrong in their accusations. The assumed that Job did something wrong (sinned). Like me, someone may say you don't have faith and that's why you are having such a hard time and this is not always true. Just because we have faith in God does not mean that we are free from pain and troubles. Jesus was in pain when he was being tempted by the devil! Surely we know that He has faith. We must remain honest to God about our feelings just a Job did.
We need to realize the proper way to deal with someone going through a trial whether it is physical, mental, and/or spiritual.
What I learned:
- Instead of accusing or criticizing realize the person hurting more than likely needs compassion and not advice. (Compassion: sympathy, sorrow for a person's misfortune). Understanding and compassion has a better outcome
o Put yourself in the person's shoes. Remember when you may have been in a similar situation.
- Don't talk just to say something or sermonize to give a quick answer. Sometimes just a physical presence is needed instead of words.
- Don't condemn because you are annoyed or inconvenienced. Help the person in need but be sensitive about how you comfort.
- If you are giving advice as God leads you to, understand the person's situation first.
- It is a mistake to automatically assume that an ailment/ailments are because of unconfessed sin or lack of faith
Throughout my own trials I've learned to trust God even when I don't understand why I'm going through a situation. I have forgiven those who hurt and/or accused me. I know that I am coming out on top because no matter what it will always turn out in my favor because of Christ who lives in me! You have the same fate. Continue to trust and believe in Christ!