Today, I’m being led to just get things off my chest – things that have been hurting me a lot lately.
Some of you know – many don’t – I’m physically disabled. Try as I might to fight the disability – I’m losing. This was driven home rather forcefully the other day, in three ways:
- We got hit with that snowstorm in the northeast US – we got a lot of snow and ice. I was unable to get the snowblower out of the shed – let alone use it – lest I fall flat on my butt.
- I was summoned for Jury Duty for a trial that would, if selected for this jury, take me out of the county for several weeks. My wife, who God will bless with many crowns in heaven, had to accompany me to the courthouse yesterday, and actually fill out forms for me, since I can’t write legibly anymore, and help me maneuver around, again, lest I fall flat on my butt, since I have no sense of balance anymore. I was immediately excused – which is a shame as I knew almost nothing of the case, I would have made a great juror – and I believe it was my civic duty to serve – it would just be too much on me personally – and too much on my wife, who would have to accompany me as a caregiver as well.
- We had to put out a mattress and box spring to be taken with the trash today – something that a husband is to be able to do -something that Jeannie had to help with – in the wind and cold, and snow and ice – to get it down from the shed to the curb – about 100 feet. We did it, and then she had to help me make it back tot he house. A neighbor drove by as we struggled – did he stop? Heck no!
I sit in this wheelchair right now, struggling to type this, and I’m angry. Angry that neighbors, who know of my disability, who did their driveways with their snowblowers, couldn’t be bothered to ask – “can I help you with yours?” Ours is the only home in our neighborhood that’s still untreated, and if it wasn’t for the four-wheel drive in our Jeep Wrangler – we’d still be housebound.
As a husband – I feel helpless – and useless. As a man, I feel even worse. I mean, I’m to be doing for my wife, she’s not to be doing for me. Don’t get me wrong – I’m so appreciative of my wife, and I’m sure that she does what she can, out of love for me – but I still have these feelings of inadequacy – things that I should be able to do at 57 years of age, things I can’t do. I move (and feel) like an 80 year old man!
Parkinson’s Disease robs one of movement. Early-onset Parkinson’s, when it comes on earlier than age 60 – I was diagnosed at 40 – tends to come on slower, the symptoms are slower to manifest and are controlled better with medication. I did very well, people knew I had it, but I was able to get around without aids like a walker, and I still had my dynamic speaking voice. People loved to hear me preach.
Then I had the surgery – to implant a Deep Brain Stimulator – for Parkinson’s. It helped with the tremors – today, I have virtually no shaking at all – but my voice eventually came down in volume, and eventually, I had to use a walker at times. Some symptoms couldn’t be helped at the time. I’m due for another “programming session” next Thursday, where they’re gonna tinker with settings to see what they can do – there are no guarantees though.
After a fall due to a faulty shower bench, where I hit my head on the floor, and suffered a double concussion with brain stem injury, my balance went completely downhill – as did some cognitive function. I now suffer seizures, and I can’t walk at all . They just fitted me with ankle braces – which are being made and I’ll get them in about three weeks – and I’m trying to get through Vestibular and Occular therapy.
Putting sentences together while speaking is a struggle. I used to be quick in my speech – I could quickly come back with answers to questions – or a snappy comeback when needed – not anymore, and this makes me very angry.
Even getting up out of a chair is a struggle – and getting out of bed – I don’t even want to get into that – it’s a major struggle.
So – some people think I have every right to be angry – but what does God have to say on the subject of self-pity? I think of Job – if there was anyone in the Bible who I can sympathize with – it’s Job.
Here was a man who had everything – the Bible describes him as follows:
There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job, and that man was blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil. There were born to him seven sons and three daughters. He possessed 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 yoke of oxen, and 500 female donkeys, and very many servants, so that this man was the greatest of all the people of the east. (Job 1:1-3)
But then, satan just has to do some spiritual warfare. God doesn’t cause things to happen to us – He does permit them to happen though, just as He did Job – several times:
And the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil?” Then Satan answered the LORD and said, “Does Job fear God for no reason? Have you not put a hedge around him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But stretch out your hand and touch all that he has, and he will curse you to your face.” And the LORD said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your hand. Only against him do not stretch out your hand.” So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD. (Job 1:8-12)
In this first example – satan says that if Job’s riches and possessions – and his family – were taken away, that Job would curse God. God allowed satan to do this with one stipulation, that satan couldn’t kill him.
All of his animals were killed off – every single one, along with the servants tending them. This is akin to making a rich man, very poor – overnight. Imagine if you had a lot of money in savings, and your bank went bankrupt, and you lost everything – how would you feel?
On top of that, his kids were together having a party, and the house fell down on top of them, killing all seven sons and three daughters.
So he lost his riches – and his family – but not his wife – overnight. How would you react? How did Job react?
Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped. And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong. (Job 1:20-22)
Yes, he mourned – tearing his clothes and shaving his head was the custom for mourning of the day, but what did he say? That he came in to this world with nothing, and he’ll leave with nothing – hat the Lord gave him everything, and that the Lord can also take it away – and that we are to bless the name of the Lord.
Does this mean that we’re to do a “Praise God, I’m Suffering!” mantra? No, but Job didn’t wallow in self-pity. He acknowledged the situation, mourned – yes, but also worshiped the Lord.
So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord and struck Job with loathsome sores from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. And he took a piece of broken pottery with which to scrape himself while he sat in the ashes. (Job 2:7-8)
It seems that satan wasn’t done yet. God allowed satan to afflict his health – but not take his life. Wealth and possessions were one thing, but take his health, and a man will curse God — that was satan’s reasoning (as can be seen in verses 1-6).
So here he was – poor, destitute, his family killed off, and now his health is failing. The only healthy one is his wife, and she’s urging him to do something foolish:
Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die.” But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips. (Job 2:9-10)
She actually urged him to curse God. Did he? Nope – he rebuked her, as he should have. I thank God that I have a godly wife, who understands that what I’m dealing with – is not from God, but He’s allowing it for a reason.
God allowed Job to withstand horrible affliction – for a reason – to test his faith, and although for 40 chapters in the book of Job, he kvetches – a good Yiddish term, the worst type of complaining there is – yes, he kvetches – a lot, but not once does he blame God. He argues with Him at the end of those 40 chapters, andhe repents for that – but he doesn’t curse God.
His friends try to convince him that it was his sin – something that “churchy” people do today – never assume that! We’re all sinners, every single one of us, and yes, there may have been sin in the mix – but you are not to be the judge and jury on why God is allowing someone to suffer.
Remember, when you point an accusing finger at someone else – there are three point right back at you.
I have a great wife – who would move heaven and earth to help me – and yes, there are times when she struggles to keep from kvetching – but at least she’s not telling me to curse God and die. She knows better than that. She knows that if the she were the “shoe on the other foot” – if her health were afflicted, I’d be there for her.
It does make me wonder though – I can do so much good with my voice. I want to do some “street preaching” – I can’t do that with my voice. So what does God want me to do?
I preach here – on this blog. God wakes me up and gives me the words He wants me to tell you. Maybe that’s it – who knows.
Maybe God knows that my voice will make me prideful – as it did before – and He isn’t allowing me to fall into that trap again – maybe this suffering is God actually protecting me in some way. Pride does nasty things to people – and God puts it down. Pride always comes before a fall – been there, done that, never want to be in that situation again.
Pride makes you think you’re invincible – that nothing can happen. God can allow a lot to happen to a prideful person. It will start small – and He’ll ratchet it up until you repent of the pride – and if you don’t, you’ll lose it all. God will put you in a place where you will have to face it – and repent.
Job wasn’t prideful – he was blameless in every way – God was testing his faith though, and Job passed that test – so much so that God restored to him, more than he had:
And the Lord restored the fortunes of Job, when he had prayed for his friends. And the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before. Then came to him all his brothers and sisters and all who had known him before, and ate bread with him in his house. And they showed him sympathy and comforted him for all the evil that the Lord had brought upon him. And each of them gave him a piece of money and a ring of gold.
And the Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning. And he had 14,000 sheep, 6,000 camels, 1,000 yoke of oxen, and 1,000 female donkeys. He had also seven sons and three daughters. And he called the name of the first daughter Jemimah, and the name of the second Keziah, and the name of the third Keren-happuch. And in all the land there were no women so beautiful as Job’s daughters. And their father gave them an inheritance among their brothers. And after this Job lived 140 years, and saw his sons, and his sons’ sons, four generations.And Job died, an old man, and full of days. (Job 42:10-17)
Will the Lord restore my physical and cognitive function? Will I ever stand in a pulpit again and deliver hell fire and brimstone, or a convicting sermon? He could – and only He knows.
Until then, I have to have faith – that God is protecting me, and that He knows whats best for me right now, and in the future. And if He chooses not to heal me physically in this world, I know that in the next one – in Heaven, I will have a glorified body that will be healed – with no pain, no suffering.
In other words, I know where I’ll be spending eternity. Do you?
For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Romans 10:12-13)
In other words, the Lord doesn’t care who you are – Jew or Gentile, Muslim or Atheist, call on Yeshua – Jesus, the Messiah, repent of your sin, and be saved. It’s that simple. Christ died on the cross – on the day before Passover, as the final sin sacrifice – for the redemption of your sin – past, present and future.
You’re a sinner, I’m a sinner, my wife – as godly as she is – is a sinner too – and we all deserved to die and spend eternity, tormented in Hell – but God gave His only Son, as a sacrifice for our sin.
During His crucifixion, Jesus carried our sin in His body – God couldn’t even look at Him during that time, because God can’t be in the presence of sin. But Jesus rose again, and now sits at the right hand of the Father in Heaven.
I’ll be with Him one day – and I want to see y’all there with me. But you must repent of your sin – and accept and acknowledge truly, and without reservation, that Yeshua – Jesus, is Lord and Savior of your life – and give your life to Him.
Do that, my friend, and be saved. I don’t have to lead you in some prayer – you do that yourself, in your own words. God knows your heart – and if you’re sincere, you’ll be saved.
Then find yourself a good – Bible-believing church. Not one of thewe feel-good, megachurches that tell you that if you do good, that all’s well with the world – no, find one that will disciple you, to grow in the Lord.
Now I see what God has in store for me – yes, preaching here, and dong what I can with the written word – at least for now.