Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Wednesday Words of Encouragement

James 5:7-11 (NLT) ~

Dear brothers and sisters, be patient as you wait for the Lord’s return. Consider the farmers who patiently wait for the rains in the fall and in the spring. They eagerly look for the valuable harvest to ripen. You, too, must be patient. Take courage, for the coming of the Lord is near.

Don’t grumble about each other, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. For look—the Judge is standing at the door!

For examples of patience in suffering, dear brothers and sisters, look at the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.  We give great honor to those who endure under suffering. For instance, you know about Job, a man of great endurance. You can see how the Lord was kind to him at the end, for the Lord is full of tenderness and mercy.

On Monday, I squatted down to get a pan from my bottom cupboard and my knee groaned in protest as I tried to stand back up.  Within a half an hour, I could hardly put any weight on that leg and the knee is tender to touch.  Bursitis has flared in my left knee.  I was in agony yesterday and though it feels a bit better this morning, it's still difficult and painful to move it.  To make matters complicated, I have plantar fasciitis in my right foot and it hurts to walk on my that side.  I've been hobbling around, wincing in pain.

To be honest, I start to feel very depressed when I'm in pain.  I'm struggling with my weight and it's frustrating that I cannot do the exercise necessary to lose it because of pain in my foot and now knee.  I start to wonder why God is allowing this.

My suffering is such a miniscule thing in the light of other people's very real trials, but I found comfort in these verses this morning.  We are to look to those Biblical examples of suffering and how they handled it.  Job is one of the examples given.

Job lost his entire family, his fortune and his health and was at the point where he wanted to die.  In fact, his wife told him, "Why don't you just curse God and die?"  She certainly didn't win any awards for wife of the year.  Yet, Job gives this beautiful response to her in the midst of extreme suffering.  He says, "You speak as a foolish woman speaks."  "Should we accept only good from God and not adversity?"

He is such a strong example of someone who views the goodness of God, even in the midst of everything being ripped from him.  That is my prayer.  That even in the middle of suffering, I can give glory to God.  My desire is to accept not just the good, but the bad and to stay patient in it.

I want to encourage you this morning to know how much God loves you no matter what you are struggling with.  He is merciful and kind.  We cannot see the end result and yet, God uses our struggles to help us grow. 

Be patient as you wait for the harvest.  You can't see what fruit you are growing now but when we trust God even in our suffering, we bring Him honor.  Use this time to draw close to God.  Cling to Him and He will help you as you endure through the pain.