Father God, it is too easy to be cynical. I ask for a faith to see me through when all is not “calm” and all is not “bright.”
Read JOB 42:1-17
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“Focusing on God is the key to resolving conflict constructively. When we remember his mercy and draw on his strength, we invariably see things more clearly and respond to conflict more wisely” (Ken Sande).
I like stories with happy endings. This one comes as a surprise, after all that’s gone before. Job’s reply to God does not contain an admission of guilt–there was no need–but he does admit that God has opened his eyes, his mind, to a new and deeper understanding both of God and of himself. It was the difference between having merely heard of a famous person and actually meeting that person in the flesh. Job has met God in a new way. Therefore he repents (6)–he turns away from his old understanding and embraces the living God himself. Then things start to happen.
First on the agenda is to sort out Job’s friends. Twice God vindicates Job with regard to all he has said in agonized response to his friends’ erroneous ideas (7-9). It is the friends who must repent, not Job! Job needs to forgive–and to pray for them. In any church context there will inevitably be times when one member hurts another; sadly this often leads to years of estrangement–which does nothing for the Church’s witness! Recently the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has been urging the Church to become “reconciled reconcilers.” True reconciliation means the person hurt must forgive the antagonist, and the person doing the hurting (whether deliberately or not) needs to take responsibility for what they have said or done.
The stage is set for the happy ending. We cannot assume that all our troubles will end in the same way, but we have a blessing that Job could barely glimpse: our kinsman-redeemer has opened the door to the promise of resurrection and eternal life, where there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain (Rev. 21:4). Can we cling to that hope in the tough times?
Is there someone you need to be reconciled with? How can you make the first move to resolve the situation? Be sure to read Matthew 18.
Understanding One, I need to take the pain and anger and throw them away. Help me to move forward in my broken relationships. I want be Your servant; I want to learn to forgive.
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