A man noticed a butterfly pushing its cocoon. Upon observing the struggle, the man was moved with compassion. He snipped the tip of the cocoon so that the butterfly would be freed sooner, putting an end to its miseries. The man’s kindness resulted in the butterfly being crippled forever. It would never be able to fly. What should have been a strengthening process ended up the opposite. The butterfly’s wings were damaged by the man’s compassionate snip!
It’s human tendency to put a stop to times of struggles and difficulties but it may actually be unkindness instead! Jesus was explaining to His disciples about the suffering that lied ahead of Him. Peter rebuked Him, “Never, Lord! … This shall never happen to you” (Matthew 16:21-22). Jesus instantly identified the cause of Peter’s words and said, “Get behind me, Satan! ….. You do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men” (Matthew 16:23). Imagine if Jesus had decided to give in simply to pacify Peter. Where will you and me be today?
We often look at situations with our minds filled with the things of men. It’s our nature to analyse everything and thus look at solutions to prevent suffering – both ours and others’. We jump to “rescue” our loved ones from harm and danger. And in turn we are quick to listen to the advice of loved ones when they try to rescue us. Let’s face it, we love to be approved by others – a pat on the back is always welcomed.
Job was a righteous man. Both he and his friends didn’t know of the dialogue that took place between God and Satan. However we do! In the search for wanting to win over reign, Satan’s goal is to pull us believers away from God. He accused God saying that it was the blessings that kept Job faithful to Him. God allowed the testing as He knew Job’s heart. Just imagine Satan at the end of it all!
Job’s friends first listened silently for a week allowing Job to pour out his agony. However, they then needed to find a reason for his suffering based on the things of man. They applied their belief system (which wasn’t sound teaching to begin with) to justify why Job “deserved” it – pouring salt into Job’s open wounds. At the end, we know their thoughts were nothing but the things of man. They did not know the things of God.
Yes, using wisdom and listening to the counsel of others are positive steps. However we need to always seek God’s will in each situation. We need to exercise care when attempting to give advice and ensure we have heard from God first so that we know the things of God. Likewise, when we seek advice from others, let’s not blindly accept it as we want to be approved by them. Instead, we need to realise that they may be saying it with a protective heart based on the things of man.
Faith is not looking at what is seen but rather being obedient to what God is telling us.
It may very well entail suffering!