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My husband and I still laugh when we remember a visit to a restaurant where the friendly hostess interacted with us in the weirdest way!
She sat us at a handicapped accessible table. Its tabletop was higher and allowed my husband’s wheelchair to fit comfortably underneath. We were looking at the menus, when this sweet lady returned, making small talk and offering again to assist in any way needed. She reminisced about times when other people in wheelchairs had sat at that same table. And while looking at my husband, she told us how very glad she was that we had gotten out of the house and been able to join them for lunch “just like regular folks.”
My husband uses a wheelchair to get around due to muscular dystrophy. People who have known us for a while have seen this condition change from him standing on his own and even riding a bicycle with the family 10 years ago to now needing the assistance of wheelchairs, canes, walkers, lift chairs, etc.
And while some people have gravitated closer to us in this season of our lives, a few others seem to keep their distance. We’ve found that conversations seem awkward for some, perhaps as they try to find the appropriate words to speak. Most people mean well, so it’s easy to pass such comments with a laugh.
Yet others are not as kind – perhaps struggling with their own questions about why people of faith experience challenges.
Job was a godly man who encountered tremendous sorrow and pain. He was disappointed and hurt when his family and friends believed hidden sin must be the cause of all his calamity. Instead of putting their arms around him as he faced every manner of attack, his friends were certain Job was secretly wicked and needed to confess his sin.
Job’s friend Eliphaz urged him to go to God and present his case and accept God’s correction. “Do not despise the discipline of the Almighty when you sin,” he added in his long chastisement (Job 5:17 NLT).
Job called out Eliphaz’s fear in his response, “...You have seen my calamity, and you are afraid” (Job 6:21b). He also reminded Eliphaz that he had not asked him for money or any other help. Job was adamant in letting his friends know that there was nothing he’d done to deserve his fate and disappointed in them for not being better friends.
So why were his friends so accusatory when they had only known Job to be a Godly man?
Maybe they were like many of us. When we see godly people facing adversity, we wonder why and try to make connections that make sense to us. Maybe it makes us feel more in control and safe about our own lives – thinking, surely, we won’t face such trials if we just do x, y, and z and avoid other behaviors. We all know that some consequences in life are by-products of our own decisions and even our own sins. But it’s not always a clear cause and effect that explains life’s adversities. It certainly was not the case with Job and unfortunately, those who knew him made that wrong assumption.
Job told his friends, “One should be kind to a fainting friend, but you accuse me without any fear of the Almighty” (Job 6:14). What a simple truth—be kind to a fainting friend—and fear God (whose ways we cannot understand).
Dear Father, Give us spiritual eyes to see others and ourselves as You see us. Help us to be encouragers, not accusers. May we put our arms around the hurting instead of pointing fingers. May our words and actions always point others to Jesus! Amen!
Scripture is quoted from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
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