Thursday, May 1, 2014

When Friends Become Enemies

Job 42:10  "And the LORD turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends..."

This verse has always intrigued me.

Earlier in the chapter, Job repents and confesses to the Lord, but his troubles were not removed until he prayed for his friends. I mean, wouldn't it make sense that God would fix it after Job repented?
(My husband's first time baptizing someone here.)

But maybe it is because God puts such a high value on intercession and substitution. Here Job had three friends who didn't act very much like friends. They were arrogant and prideful. They knew how Job could fix the problems and why Job was in the mess to begin with. They had all the answers. Or at least in their own minds they had all the answers.

The people who should have been most helpful, supportive, encouraging, and compassionate ended up being Job's biggest hindrance and torment.

Have you ever felt like that in ministry? The people who are supposed to be your biggest cheerleaders are your biggest discouragement? Maybe it's family. Maybe it's a pastor, pastor's wife, or other missionaries. Maybe a church member. When things go wrong, they are quick to lash out with words like, "I told you so." Some of the biggest trials on the field can come from fellow missionaries. We were warned about this by several long time veteran missionaries before we ever reached the field. How heartbreaking... but how true. (No, most missionaries are not like that, but it just hurts so much coming from those who should be on the same team.)

We have been very blessed with support and love from family.
This is my Mom and Grandmother. They are some of our best cheerleaders! After comforting fellow missionaries who were in tears because their family wasn't supportive, their support and love has become even more precious!

We have made some amazing friendships with fellow missionaries, and treasure their love and faithful support... even the ones who play jokes on us like holding stuffed animals hostage for ransom! You guys are crazy!

How it stings to seek support from those who mean so much to us and who we respect greatly only to be met with criticism and wounding words! But what did Job do in the end? He inspected his actions to make sure he was right with the Lord. Then he repented. After that, he didn't just forgive his friends for their wrongs. He loved them enough to intercede on their behalf! God blessed that action by turning away Job's captivity. Job interceded for those who should have been most supportive, but were more like enemies. He interceded for those who didn't deserve it. Why did this move the hand of God?

Maybe because it looked so much like His Son:
Luke 23:34 "Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do..."

Christ interceded for those who should have been closest to Him... God's chosen people! He interceded for those who didn't deserve it... the whole world!

My husband's parents have also showered us with love and support.
How we treasure that! They even came to visit us!

Facing trials from those who are closest to you? Family members who are unsupportive about you going to the field? Missionaries who think you should do things their way? First, inspect yourself. Make sure you are truly guilt free, and repent of anything that the Lord shows you is wrong. Then, intercede for those who have injured you. Love them. God will bless you when you have the same unconditional love His Son has for us.

Charity, Southern Asia


Lou Ann Keiser said...

Excellent, biblical advice. We all need this from time to time. Thank you, Charity, for the excellent post.

Anonymous said...

May God bless you for your faithfulness to write and publish this as only the Lord could have lead you to do.

Angelina said...

Thank you for your post!! I greatly needed this!