The scripture for July 13 (7/13) is in Job 7:13ff in the Old Testament of the Bible:

“When I think my bed will comfort me and my couch will ease my complaint, even then you frighten me with dreams and terrify me with visions, so that I prefer strangling and death, rather than this body of mine.  I despise my life; I would not live forever.  Let me alone; my days have no meaning.”

Job was extremely depressed. It happens to everyone sometimes.  His depression was certainly valid ~ he had lost all his income  and all his children in a recent storm.  Now he had what the Bible translated as “boils” but the symptoms indicate he had a form of leprosy.  This particular form leads to nightmares in addition to the physical problems.  Job had every right to be depressed.  So depressed was he, that he no longer wanted to live, for his life no longer had meaning.

But, as miserable as Job was, he hung on.  Patiently he hung on during the bad times. Sometimes during our bad times, the greatest thing we can do is “hang on” ~ be patient.

Romans 8:28 says all things work together for good to those who love the Lord.  Job loved the Lord.  Even in his misery and desire to die, he continued to love God and trust Him.

And although at such times you may believe your misery will never end, you may believe you will never even smile again, it will happen.  The misery comes to an end.  It did for Job.  He got his health and wealth back and more children to comfort him.  God will see you through too.

The scripture for today, June 11, is Job 6:11 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

“What strength do I have, that I should still hope?  What prospects that I should be patient?”

Many people use the expression, “patience of Job.”  But he had on-and-off patience, for he was very sick.  By descriptions he gave of himself ~ sores, rancid breath, low voice, partial blindness, skin turned hard and black, bloating, nightmares, extreme pain, unrecognized by his closest friends, some believe he had a grotesque form of elephantitis leprosy.

What did he need from his friends?  He surely didn’t get it, for they spent their time trying to prove that he had sinned and God was right to be punishing him.  His reply?  “I have heard many things like these; miserable comforters are you all!  Will your long-winded speeches never end?  What ails you that you keep on arguing?” (Job 16:2f).

So how do we comfort someone who feels utterly hopeless?  We certainly don’t put the blame on them, nor do we tell them it’s “all in your head’ or to “snap out of it”.  We can share times when we felt hopeless.  We can weep with them.  We can hold their hand.  We can sit with them in silence.  We can pray aloud for them.  (Some people have never heard their name mentioned in a prayer.)

And we need to let them talk.  Sometimes they will say things they don’t mean in the long run, but at that brief moment they do.  Or sometimes they need to talk through things they are unsure about.  They may even say contradictory things.

At one time Job said, “Surely, O God, you have worn me out; you have devastated my entire household… .God assails me and tears me in his anger and gnashes his teeth at me” (16:7f).  But another time he said, “I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth….I myself will see him with my own eyes ~ I and not another.  How my heart yearns within me” (19:25f)

If you have a very sick friend, let your heart yearn with them.

The scripture for today, May 13 (5/13), is 1st John 5:13f as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

“I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.  This is the confidence we have in approaching God:  That if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.”

What a wonderful and comforting promise:  The God of the universe, the Creator, the King of all kings hears you!

Of course, it must be “according to his will.”  Well, how are you supposed to know God’s will?  By a feeling deep in your heart? Feelings are fickle.  But can there be another way?  Of course.  It’s simple.  Just read his very words to you in the Bible.  

The Bible is full of examples of people who did right and who did wrong, to help you see the consequences of good and bad decisions.  The Bible is also full of God’s advice to you.  Proverbs is one of the books that is full of such advice.  Read the Bible.  You do not have to guess what God’s will is.

What about asking God’s will whether you should move to this place or that, whether you marry this person or that, whether you take this job or that?  Perhaps all your choices are good.  God has also given you free will.  Always remember, “ALL things work together for good to those who love the Lord and called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).