I’ve always felt a little bad for Job. Here’s this righteous man of God who’s so amazing that the Lord actually brags about him (Job 1:8 “8 Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.”) yet everything that could go wrong goes wrong FAST! He loses everything and still remains faithful, a bit whiny perhaps, but faithful. His friends spend many chapters lecturing and criticizing him. I don’t really blame the friends though. Isn’t that our nature to decide that someone MUST have done something wrong to deserve all of the bad in their life. We are the first to jump in and criticize. Lord, help me to not be like Job’s friends. But I digress…
We know the story. In the end, God shows up and speaks out of a whirlwind revealing his awe-inspiring power and shaking earth and sky with his glory. Job, the righteous man, feels as though he is no better than the dust beneath his feet in the presence of The Holy One. Job laments that there is no mediator between this awesome God and lowly man. We read it and rejoice knowing that we have such a mediator now in Jesus Christ. The God who shakes the heaven and sees Earth tremble at the sound of His voice, loves us so much that He sent His son to make a way. That always blows my mind. Then God in His glory restores to Job twice what he’d lost to begin with.
I realized a little word I’d missed before. In Job 42:10 it says that God restored Job’s losses WHEN he prayed for his friends. Before Job was given back double, he had to forgive his annoying friends. This righteous man who would certainly be justifiably angry at his so-called friends who came against him the second calamity hit, had to be reconciled to them BEFORE his blessings came. I’d missed that little word “when” before.
If you desire the blessings and favor of God in your life, do yourself a favor and love your neighbor. When you walk in love, purity and forgiveness, there is nothing that can stop you! The blessings of God follow the believer. We don’t have to work for them or conjure them up. They are a consequence of a life lived in service. Don’t wait around and waste time looking for apologies or feeling justified having an attitude. Get over yourself and forgive and the rest will fall into place.
Okay, now the practical portion. I vividly remember being a young, hot-headed gal who thought it was a nice theory to forgive, but I couldn’t figure out how. It can be hard sometimes! Here’s my practical solution and Job demonstrated it perfectly. Pray! You may not want to. You probably won’t feel like it. If you are having trouble forgiving someone, pray for them. Keep praying for them. You don’t have to like them. You don’t have to continue to let them mistreat you. When you start praying for them, you loose the hold they have on you and forgiveness comes. It is a process. Be patient with yourself and when those feelings of anger start to rise up, push them back through prayer. It’s the most practical thing you can do. And as the Bible says in Job, when you pray, God’s blessings are released. You become free!