Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Memorial Day 2018

Job 31:35

Oh, that I had someone to hear me!

Have you ever felt alone? Have you ever felt you were fighting the battle with no one in your corner? I wonder how a boxer would feel if they had to fight without someone in their corner? Without someone pulling for them and giving them comfort and even direction between rounds. I wonder how the men and women who came back from Vietnam felt – when they returned to an ungrateful nation (for some that is – not all)? They gave their all for their country and came back to some folks who spit on them and called them baby killers.

Today is Memorial Day. Are there people in your life that have served in the military? Are there folks you know that have served that you could say thank you to today? Those who serve – don’t serve for the thank you – in the military or in the church (at least that is the hope). They serve because it is in their blood or it is their job. Yet – a thank you – even a listening ear – is often appreciated.

One year – when I in Moorefield – WV – for a family vacation – I had a chance to speak with one of my cousins – who served in Vietnam (it was the last time I spoke with him – he died that year between our visits – probably from something that happened to him in Vietnam). He never liked to talk about his experiences in Vietnam – but he appreciated it when people thanked him for serving his country. Memorial Day was special for him as he would serve in reenactments of the Civil War or honor the fallen by placing a wreath on a grave or simply attending special services for the fallen.

A friend of mine – Willie – had a ministry to bikers – many of them having served in Vietnam. Every year he would ride his hog to the Vietnam Memorial to minister to the hurts and spiritual needs of fellow bikers. It was amazing knowing him and seeing him in action. He and Robin were awesome folks and we loved them at Mt. Zion UMC.

Today’s passage is from Job. If you remember – Job was a follower of God – a righteous man. Satan thought he was righteous because God protected him. So he bargained with God to allow him to persecute Job – believing that Job would curse God when under heavy pressure. God relented – knowing Job and his faithfulness. The book of Job is about the persecutions of Job and how Job stood strong in his trust of God and his faith.

As Job’s so called friends gathered around him in his suffering – instead of being a support and a help – they became part of the adversarial conflict that Job was facing. Job was so frustrated that his friends weren’t really there for him he uttered today’s passage. Here is today’s passage (31:35) in partial context. Job 31:29–40 – 29 “If I have rejoiced at my enemy’s misfortune or gloated over the trouble that came to him— 30 I have not allowed my mouth to sin by invoking a curse against their life— 31 if those of my household have never said, ‘Who has not been filled with Job’s meat?’— 32 but no stranger had to spend the night in the street, for my door was always open to the traveler— 33 if I have concealed my sin as people do, by hiding my guilt in my heart 34 because I so feared the crowd and so dreaded the contempt of the clans that I kept silent and would not go outside— 35 (“Oh, that I had someone to hear me! I sign now my defense—let the Almighty answer me; let my accuser put his indictment in writing. 36 Surely I would wear it on my shoulder, I would put it on like a crown. 37 I would give him an account of my every step; I would present it to him as to a ruler.)— 38 “if my land cries out against me and all its furrows are wet with tears, 39 if I have devoured its yield without payment or broken the spirit of its tenants, 40 then let briers come up instead of wheat and stinkweed instead of barley.” The words of Job are ended.

Oh, that I had someone to hear me! I can just hear Job crying out – because there have been times in my life (nothing to compare with Veterans or Job) that I have wished for someone who would listen and give me comfort. Have you ever been there? If so – the One we can always turn to is God. God will hear us and God will respond! God has promised the following.

Jeremiah 31:3 – The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.

Deuteronomy 31:6 – Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.

Isaiah 40:28–31 – 28 Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. 29 He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. 30 Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; 31 but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

God is listening – God is always present – God will not leave us nor forsake us – God will never tire of hearing from us – God has always loved us and always will. If you feel alone – feel that way no more – turn your heart – your eyes – your voice – your all – toward God and He will be there for you!

Just something for us to think about today as we go on our way.

P.S. Thanks to all who have served – especially those who have given their all – and died in the service or who have died since!

May 28, 2018 - Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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