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May 16, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“And the Lord restored Job’s losses when he prayed for his friends. Indeed the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before. Then all his brothers, all his sisters, and all those who had been his acquaintances before, came to him and ate food with him in his house; and they consoled him and comforted him for all the adversity that the Lord had brought upon him. Each one gave him a piece of silver and each a ring of gold.”—Job 42:10-11 (NKJV)
Years ago, I had an uncomfortable interaction with a co-worker, and it really troubled me. I shared the situation with my mentor, and she made a suggestion I have never forgotten. She didn’t tell me to confront the person with my list of disagreements or to defend myself. Neither did she advise me to report my prickly co-worker to our superior. She didn’t counsel me to avoid this individual. This wise saint discouraged me from fighting for my rights. Instead, she quietly whispered one sentence that dropped down into my heart and convicted me to the core.
“You should pray for God to bless her,” she declared.
Job was misunderstood, questioned, and judged by those closest to him. Many of his friends and family walked away during a season when they should have pressed forward and stood in the gap with grace. During all the difficulty Job experienced, he may have questioned God, but he never disqualified himself by cursing God. He continued to work out his faith, and in the end, Job developed a greater understanding of God’s transcendence. He came to intimately know and trust the Almighty God who ruled above all. Dark circumstances and difficult people did not rule Job’s reactions. He trusted God to reign over every detail.
With newfound assurance in God’s presence and power at work in his life, Job was able to surrender his suffering to his faithful God and pray a blessing over the broken people who’d failed him.
Job’s prayer for these men brought restoration. A community of comfort and compassion was reestablished because Job was willing to take the first step toward reconciliation. A spiritually-mature believer remembers how God’s redemption is always working behind the scenes to bring blessing and transform from our brokenness.
If you are discouraged by the behavior of people in your inner circle, I hope you draw encouragement from the turnaround in Job’s hard story. Relationships can be restored as we fight on our knees and persevere in faith. Pray fervently for God to bless those prickly people in your life, and never stop believing change is possible.
DIG: Read James 5:13-18, a letter to the early Church. List all the benefits of praying for one another shared within this letter.
DISCOVER: Read Luke 23:32-34 and Isaiah 53:12. What do you learn from Christ’s intercessory prayer life? How will His example impact your prayers this week?
DO: This week, make a list of three difficult people you don’t normally pray for. Start each morning praying Numbers 6:24-26 over them.