By Nancy Virden (c)2021
Sam owned his own successful business and served as a judge and counselor. People of all walks of life came to him for help. He was a man of his word. He did not abuse his workers or practice injustice against the poor. He made a covenant with his eyes to not look lustfully at young women and to remain faithful to his wife. He was an invested father. Most people would agree that Sam was a good man.
Sam thought his goodness would protect him from harm.
Yet in one day. violent criminals, natural disaster, disease, and stigma took it all, forcing him to adjust to being the one in need of support instead of offering it. His livelihood, reputation, and health gone, and his children dead, Sam wanted to die too. All he had left was his integrity and his God.
People avoided Sam due to fear and suspicion. He had to beg for help. Three friends started out by sitting with Sam in silence, respecting the enormity of his grief. However, it made them feel better to offer advice, and soon they made four major mistakes. They extended: blame, not mercy (you deserve this; you brought this on); advice, not compassion (fix yourself already); invalidation of Sam’s experience and feelings (you should not feel bad); and arrogance (we know better than you). It was stigma and legalism over love.
Sam turned to God in prayer and asked him why he allowed all this suffering. Hadn’t he been a good enough person? What had he done to deserve this? God’s response was to ask rhetorical questions, giving Sam a chance to think outside of his pain.
We all need to get past the blinders of religion and habitual faith and begin the nitty gritty of asking honest questions. God knew what Sam needed most, himself. He led his faithful child out of head knowledge and into deeper understanding. In light of God’s infinite wisdom, Sam realized the foolhardiness of assuming a human can grasp God’s motives or demand a certain reaction from him.
God will not quit on us. Deuteronomy 31:6 reads, “…the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” That is his promise no matter how grave our suffering.
Today’s Helpful Word
Book of Job
“Should we accept only good things from the hand of God and never anything bad?” So in all this, Job said nothing wrong. (Job is Sam’s real name. You can find the story in the book of Job in the Bible.)
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Always the Fight Ministries (ATFM) has been displaying compassion for those fighting mental illness, addiction, or abuse since 2012. Nancy is the founder and voice of ATFM and openly shares her emotional resurrection from despair.
NOTE: I am not a doctor or a mental health professional, and speak only from personal experiences and observations. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.
If you are feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here.
If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S. or go to your nearest emergency room. In the EU call 112. (For other international emergency numbers, go here ). Hope and help are yours!
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