Yes, I’m still in Mexico.  Hopefully not sunburned.  Hopefully not sick with something because I ate something stupid.  And hopefully no one has killed me because I took ONE TOO MANY PICTURES.  😉  So, I’m reposting another old post back from Dec 2008!  And I’m so glad to know I still have my very close “idiot” friends!  They still love me!  (Trust me, it will make sense after you read the post. 😉  )

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Oh yes…I went there! I not only CROSSED that line, I danced over it, cart-wheeled over it, and did a little jig on the other side. And I’ll say it AGAIN:

I HAVE IDIOT FRIENDS!

Thank you, LORD, for my idiot friends!

Oh no, WAIT…..don’t go! They KNOW they are my idiot friends! I TOLD them! Uhhh….I don’t think that helps my case any, does it?

Let me start by saying, here is my lesson from Sunday morning. ;) Does that help at all? Although, one of the Youth girls was kind and gracious enough to actually TEACH it! She studied Job in her Hebrew class! And she did a MARVELOUS job! I was very proud of her, I know she was scared. And since she taught, I didn’t prepare a big lesson, just a small one, and then Jeff hit a point that I really liked, so I’m going there, too.

I know I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been through some really rough times in my years. Loss of jobs, loss of job AND home at the same time, illnesses, near death experiences, fear of losing our home when we JUST bought it! Loss of friends, wrongful persecution, etc etc, you get the idea. Some of these trials, I did really well….stood like a Warrior defending her country, praised God anyway, stormed the gates of Heaven with prayers that shook the house!

Well, and then there are the OTHER times. The times that I would rather have just curled up and died, crawled in the corner, in the fetal position, sucking the thumb and wetting myself….waiting it out….times that I fought back, but not in a Godly way. These times I am NOT particularly proud of, but they are me. They make up a part of who I am, or who I WAS. And I would be a big fat liar if I was not honest with myself and admitted, YET AGAIN, that I am not perfect. I do not always have the correct response for every occasion.

But this is where I’ve grown. This is where I learned, about myself, about my God, and about who I am in Him.

Job, obviously had some ROUGH times. I don’t even know if rough is a good enough word to describe what Job went through! Loss of his ENTIRE family (except his wife), all 10 kids, servants, livelihood, his health…..there was not ONE area of his life that was not damaged to the point of BREAKING a person. I do not know if I could have withstood all of that. Just losing ONE of my children would have put me in a place I don’t think I could have recovered from. And that’s me putting it totally out there for you.

BUT, Job, In all this, Job did not sin in what he said! He was DEVASTATED! Tore his clothes, shaved his head, and then he fell on the ground in worship and said:

Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.

In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.

That is significant. He praised God for all that he had, all of his wealth, the time he was able to spend with his children while they were there, he thanked God for all of his blessings that he had! The Lord GAVE them! He was BLESSED to have them! And he recognized and gave thanks for all of it. He would have nothing if God had not blessed him with it. THAT is important.

Oh don’t get me wrong, he questioned God! But that’s part of his relationship with God! He was no stranger to Him! He wanted to know WHY! Our Heavenly Father is not some far off old man with a beard and long robes, sitting in the clouds eating Philadelphia cream cheese and has NO idea what we are going through down here! He’s right HERE! There is nothing on this earth that happens that He doesn’t know about!

So wait….why would God let all this stuff to happen? My theory, and please know, I am far from a great Bible scholar, but I do read it. We go through trials and hard times for 2 reasons:

Correction: we’ve been doing stuff we shouldn’t have been doing. Come on now…we’re grown ups, we can be honest with ourselves here…we KNOW when we are doing things we shouldn’t be doing. Call it Jiminy Cricket, conscience, inner voice, whatever, it’s the Holy Spirit, and we KNOW when we are doing things that aren’t right! God is a Gentleman and He tries to get our attention, and we don’t listen, He has to get our attention in ways that aren’t pleasant! That’s why we need to keep the communication OPEN with God, and keep ourselves in a place we can HEAR His still, small voice before it gets ugly.

It builds our faith: It makes us stronger people. Our purpose is to GROW in our faith, and the truth of the matter is, how many of us would DO that on our own without trials to test us? I find it really cool that in all these horrid events, Job STILL maintained his faith, his integrity, he was still honest and patient, trustworthy! That’s really cool! And hard times are meant to help us build our faith! Make us STRONGER in our relationship with God and when we recognize that for what it is, we’ll do better.

Hard times do not MAKE good character, it just brings it out.

Now, onto my idiot friends….

Job had some FRIENDS didn’t he? It was bad enough his wife telling him to curse God and DIE! And then his SWEET friends come to him, when he’s lost everything else, and tells him in every imaginable way, You must have done SOMETHING wrong! Nice! I’ve lost my children, my job, and I’m sitting here with boils and gross covering my body, and you come to cheer me up with I must have sinned in some way! Pass the queso! SWEET!

BUT, we ALL need those type of friends! The ones that come over because they LOVE you, they CARE about how you are, and they come to you in your biggest times of need.

NOT the fair weather friends….ya’ll know those people, I’m sure. The ones that are there for the GOOD stuff, the fun and the casseroles and the card playing, come watch my kids while I go shopping…but the HARD times come and suddenly they have DISAPPEARED! Oh I have tons and tons of those friends…all over the place. There for the funny stuff, stuff that I can help them with…but when it comes times for ME to need something, WOW….the speed in which they leave is shocking. And in my wisdom (not age…heh) I’m learning to let them go, and not to put myself in the same position to be hurt by that again.

I want the friends that are there for all of it. Call me all hours of the day and night to check on me. Come over to the house and can take the no-make-up, hair a mess, no shower. Take me out to dinner to get me out of my stress-funk….

….and can TELL me when I am being an idiot. Oh YES! There it is! I WANT to know when I am wrong. I want to know when I do things that are just plain stupid, mean, wrong, etc. I want to have friends that are GOOD enough friends that can correct me. And vice-versa. I want the friends who, when I can’t seem to get out of the bed, will crawl in with me. Who will hold me when I need it. Will cry with me. Will tell me that those pants make my butt look HUGE!

…..those are true friends and I need to surround myself with. They will help me in my Christian walk and encourage me to stay faithful and trustworthy and patient.

And in the end of Job….we see the rewards for Job maintaining his integrity. We see the blessings that he is rewarded with from God. God didn’t leave him in all of his misery, God stayed right there with him.

Lord, help me to be the kind of person who goes to You for my help. Help me to keep praise on my lips instead of the ugly. Help me to stay surrounded with GOOD friends and keep the fair-weather ones at a distance. Help me to be a woman of Your word and integrity. Help me look to the POSITIVE and not the negative. And thank You for always staying near me…even when I don’t deserve it…in Jesus name…

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