It is no secret that I identify with the book of Job and Job’s life along with many other parts of Scripture. I saw the similarities years ago when I first became aware that I was sensitive to many foods and chemicals. I could understand how Job suffered and I also had so called friends who told me I must have sin in my life otherwise, God would heal me.
I was a new Christian at that point and was just starting to read the Bible daily. Each time I read something and realized that I was not pleasing to God, I’d stop and ask Him to forgive me. The big things, the little things and all in between things, oh my, I certainly was the biggest of sinners there was around! And today, I still ask Him to forgive me for my sins as I never seem to get it. Do any of us?
As Paul was hard on himself, “What a wretched man I am!” (Rom 7:24a), the more I read the Bible, I realize that I too, am wretched. As God reveals our offensive ways, He is giving us grace to not only ask forgiveness but to change our ways to be more pleasing to Him. To change our ways…
I have been so sick, not being able to eat what most can, having been exposed to carbon monoxide not once, but twice in my life. Recently finding out that I was exposed to Monsanto’s experimental chemicals when I was in Basic Training at Fort McClellan, Alabama in the 60’s. Being taken advantage of by people that I thought were friends and others that I thought loved me and the abuse is beyond anything that should ever be mentioned…having suffered PTSD because of the abuse. My body in so much pain from Chikungunya, still suffering to this day. I think the pain that hurts the most is when you have loved ones that don’t stand by you but also point an accusing finger.
Yes, I can identify with Job and until recently wondered if I would ever be blessed in the latter part of my life (see Job 42:12). Now, at 70 years young, after having suffered two years ago (it took a year to find out what had happened) and I thought I would never work with children again, finding out that the health issues I was discovering were not recent but undiagnosed health issues that I’ve had all my life. With all this having happened in my life, I can now smile and praise God for allowing me to go through such sorrow and pain, and I can say I do feel deeper than many so as to minister to many. I understand the pain of one who is not accepted by those around.
The joy that I experience when a grandchild knocks on my door, just stopping by for a few minutes to see how I am doing. Having my children call on a regular basis, checking in on me. And need I say a whole lot about those beautiful great-grands? What a blessing God has given me in my old age! I mustn’t forget the number of children that I’ve worked with as an educational therapist over the years who still keep in touch and bring me such delight.
Although most of my blessings are not material, I am still thankful for what He’s given me!
Oh, I almost forgot to add that He’s also given me the longings of my youth, when at 15 years old, I wanted to write a book, publish it and have people buy it. Not only one book but two and maybe a third in the future. This along with His giving me the strength to start working with children once again, and with that, I feel such exhilaration when I ponder what He has for me as I teach the children. Certainly, in my latter years, God is blessing me beyond anything I would have ever thought possible.
In our times of troubles and pain, please remember that God is shaping you…we have a choice in how we react. We can give the evil one credit (as many seem to do these days), or we can see that God is using it for His glory. We see this not only with Job but also with Joseph (starting in Gen 37) and many other places throughout Scripture. God uses our painful times to strengthen us for His service!
For years I whined and complained and gave satan recognition for attacking me but I truly started to grow in Christ when I realized that my own flesh had taken me to some of the places that were so painful. I want to remind you (and myself) that when we are suffering, God wants us to learn a valuable lesson. Each of our lessons can be different but nothing goes against His Word. What is He teaching you this day?