Just over a week ago my mother-in-law peacefully passed away. Her death was not unexpected. My wife and son are currently in the UK planning a memorial service. My daughter and I will travel to be there for the service.
For over 40 years I’ve been a Christian, joined in fellowship with believers in local churches in Canada and in the UK. I’ve had the privilege of giving, sharing, and receiving love and comfort with my sisters and brothers in Christ during times of stress, struggle, hardship, loss, and grief. I’ve witnessed the care and compassion of so many Christians who pray for, weep with, and reach out to one another in difficult times. This is true today as Catherine and I and our two children have been blessed with your love.
Jesus calls us to consistent and faithful compassion and care. Jesus sets the example – just look at the Gospels to see how often he shows compassion. Of course, his love is supremely, displayed at the cross, where he dies for our sin; his death opening the way for us to receive forgiveness and follow him as Lord forever.
Consistent, faithful compassion is the way of Christ. So, how do images of thawing ice and snow in our devotion relate?
In the Old Testament, Job suffers great loss. He is in emotional, physical, and spiritual agony. Three friends gather round him to provide support – except they don’t. They question Job’s integrity, faith, and relationship with God. They do not show consistent, faithful compassion; instead, they become judges of Job’s life and circumstances. For most of the Book of Job, Job responds to the false accusations of his so-called friends. It’s gut-wrenching to read.
In Job 6:15-17, he says of his accusers: “But my brothers are as undependable as intermittent streams, as the streams that overflow when darkened by thawing ice and swollen with melting snow, but that stop flowing in the dry season, and in the heat vanish from their channels.”
Job’s friends are anything but compassionate. They are like rivers that overflow when ice melts but dry up in times of drought. In other words, they cause damage in one moment and in the next, cannot satisfy. They are inconsistent and unfaithful in their compassion and care.
None of us can care for everybody. But we can care for someone. Jesus brings people into our lives for us to share compassion with, to show love to, and to come alongside in times of trouble. I’ve had the privilege of being part of congregations where so many faithfully display these Christlike qualities. Thank you that at Trinity we are not like Job’s friends; we’re not like streams that overflow with thawing ice one moment and dry and parched the next.
Thank you for your love for one another.
While I am in the UK, I will take a break from producing weekly devotions. I expect to produce another in mid-February. Thank you for you patience.
視頻大意翻譯(video Chinese translation):
在約伯記 6：15-17 中，他談到控告他的人時說：“我的弟兄詭詐、好像溪水、又像溪水流乾的河道。這河、因結冰發黑、有雪藏在其中．天氣漸暖、就隨時消化．日頭炎熱、便從原處乾涸。”
Grace and peace