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Christian living

So You Don't Feel Good!

By Irene C. Taylor

religion, articles, christianity

In the life of every person there are times of feeling discouraged or vaguely sick. At these times many tend to withdraw from active participation in the Lord's work. In truth, it is at these times when we need most to immerse ourselves in communion with him.

Every Christian would do well to read regularly the story of Job. He was a servant of God who underwent severe testing by Satan. He lost everything dear to him except his life and his wife. His children and possessions were taken along with his health and wealth. It is difficult to imagine how one could handle such complete loss.

Job's wife recommended that he "renounce God and die." His friends encouraged him to repent, but could not tell him why. Despite his trials, Job remained loyal to God. Though he became discouraged, he did not forsake the One who sustained him. Job did not feel good during the time of the devil's assault on him.

There is no trial or problem that should separate us from God. When trials come, we are tested and, if we overcome, we are purified. We can emerge stronger if we overcome temptations; we are weaker, if we succumb. They will make us either bitter or better.

We should support each other during trials and not become a source of false accusations. Those near and dear to Job did not help alleviate his suffering. Depression is difficult to handle. Not all depression is caused by discouragement. Sometimes it is caused by chemical changes. It is an insult of the worst degree to declare one lacks faith if one must battle depression. We need to offer love and support. Knowing there are those who genuinely care, aids in the recovery. Do not be like Job's wife and well­meaning friends.

The apostle Paul suffered much throughout his earthly travels. He wrote:

Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness (2 Cor. 11:24.­27).

Does any think Paul felt good in these trials? Yet he says, "Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body's sake, which is the church" (Col. 1:24).

Rejoice in my sufferings? Though he could not have "felt good" yet Paul rejoiced. James tells us to "count it all joy" when our faith is tried (James 1:2­3).

It is doubtful if Jesus felt good at his trial and on the cross. And he endured the suffering and shame of the cross through no sins of his own. When we feel tired and down, let us think of Jesus "the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising shame, and hath sat down at the right hand of the throne of God" (Heb. 12:2).

Much of the work done for the cause of Christ is done by those who do not feel good. One preacher continued his work though plagued by crippling arthritis. He was never free from pain but was always cheerful and eager to preach until his failing health finally made it impossible. His condition left him somewhat stooped and he had to stand in the pulpit with knees bent to make eye contact with his audience.

And not only so, but we also rejoice in our tribulations: knowing that tribulation worketh stedfastness ; and stedfastness, approvedness; and approvedness, hope: and hope putteth not to shame; because the love of God hath been shed abroad in our hearts through the Holy Spirit which was given unto us (Rom. 5:4­5).

Published June 1997