I am not a scientist. I don’t play one on TV. I didn’t even stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night. But I have to humbly disagree with a story that I found in the Dallas Morning News today. The headline reported that a “Study fails to show healing power of prayer.” I appreciate the efforts of the Templeton Foundation to quantify spiritual effect scientifically. I really do. Still, I suspect that many or even most would be unmoved if the results showed a profound and positive effect for prayer. I recall that Pharaoh refused to believe in the God of Israel even as he stood derriere deep in frogs.
If you missed yesterday’s edition of the humble ramblings allow me to bring you up to date. We invited Job’s buddies in to give us a seminar on how not to treat a friend going through a difficult season. Today the first guest is Zophar from Naamath. And, waiting backstage to confront his friends is the star of the book, Job himself. Another lesson in friendship coming up next on Good Morning, Uz.
Let’s welcome Zophar from Naamath to our discussion:
Job, do you think you can carry on like this and we’ll say nothing?
Yesterday I passed along some tips on how to be a good buddy when a friend is going through a deep trial. Steve is a committed reader of these ramblings (and for that perhaps he should be committed). He complimented me on being a quick study on this issue. While I appreciate the kind words I have to admit that I learned much of what not to do from Eliphaz from Teman, Bildad from Shuhah, and of course; Zophar from Naamath. If you don’t recognize the list above these are the buddies of Job who taught the original seminar of how not to deal with a friend going through adversity. I must disclaim that Joni and I have not encountered friends like Job’s in our current trial. But there are so many lessons to be learned in this remarkable story about suffering, trials, our response, and about how to be a friend. As all of you literate readers of this blog know already, it was Euripedes who said that “real friendship is shown in times of trouble; prosperity is full of friends.” That is the hard lesson that Job learned. Everyone knows the story of Job. He was a godly man with toxic friends. But perhaps we have a lot to learn from those friends. Today’s seminar is courtesy of Eliphaz from Teman who smugly said….
Think! Has a truly innocent person ever ended up on the scrap heap? Do genuinely upright people ever lose out in the end? It’s my observation that those who plow evil and sow trouble reap evil and trouble. Job 4:7-8 (MsgB)
It is not easy to know what to do when a brother or sister is going through adversity. So here are some early lessons we have learned from our cancer journey.
A primer for being a good adversity buddy…
American Christians should think twice before we ever use the word persecution when we describe our trials. Please hear me out…I know that many of the things we endure are difficult. Betrayal, slander, loneliness, hurt, illness, divorce, abandonment, and separation are painful. But persecution? I don’t know if the average American Christian really knows what that word means. Dictionary.net defines persecution as ”the act or practice of persecuting; especially, the infliction of loss, pain, or death for adherence to a particular creed or mode of worship.”
So many friends have expressed caring, love, and prayers since the word went out about Joni’s cancer. We are touched and blessed by your prayers and encouragement. James told us to “consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
Writing this humble blog has been, to say the least, an interesting experience. I am still getting used to having people call you less than kind things. One person who appears not to be a fan of mine wrote that I am a vulture and declared “what a bunch of hypocrites you people are.” You people? This grace filled response was in reply to my suggestion that a Christian celebrity should be accountable for their actions. But the more common and much happier side of the blog experience is meeting new friends through this unique medium. I have developed a great friendship through one of those random contacts.