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Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit


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Curse God and Die

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

There is a time in every life, comments Stephen Lawson, when all hell breaks loose.  Suddenly.  Unexpectedly.  Cataclysmically.  All hell breaks loose.  One day, life is sunny. Calm. Clear. Predictable.  Your job is secure. Your children behave. Your health is good.  Then out of the blue, like a violent, angry thunderstorm blowing across your landscape, tragedy strikes.  You’re hit hard.  All hell breaks loose.

 

Why do bad things happen to good people?  Why does tragedy strike those who love God the most?  Why do the good die young?   One of the most famous sufferers on Planet Earth asked all these questions.  He suffered so deeply that his wife couldn’t stand it anymore.  She said to her husband Job: “Curse God and die”.  In other words, get it over with.  It’s no use.  There is no future.  You could almost see Job’s wife as the first Euthanasia advocate.  Yet rather than choosing suicide, Job clung tenaciously to life.  Often human tragedies like the loss of career, family, or home leads to an even greater tragedy – the denial of any meaning to life.  This was the great temptation that faced Job, and that faces each of us at least once every 18 months on average.

Job went through horrendous suffering for 42 chapters, and yet he never once gave up.  He was tormented by insults from his friends, harrassed by their insensitive advice and browbeaten into admitting wrongdoing that he never committed.  Under attack, Job groaned, he wailed, he doubted and fell into deep depression, he lashed out like an infuriated animal….but he never cursed God.  No matter how discouraged he was, he clung to his integrity.  He never gave up his rock-bed conviction that he was not to blame for his terrible illness.  Thousands of years later, we modern, scientifically-sophisticated people are still often blaming people when they become sick.  Even in 1997, we can too easily be just like Job’s three comforters who just made their friend feel worse.  “Oh, you’re sick in hospital with cancer…Obviously you are not thinking enough positive mental thoughts, or jogging enough, or eating enough granola.”  One way or another, we can slip into psychosomatically blaming others for their illnesses.

Job was covered from head to toe with putrid boils that never stopped itching.  His feverish body hung limp on its frame, his eyes sank back into his head, and his ribs protruded from his skin.  Job’s three friends lacked the courage to feel Job’s pain, and respond rather than just react.  Job didn’t need a lecture from his three friends; he needed love.  He didn’t need a sermon;  he needed sympathy.  He didn’t need criticism; he needed comfort.  When we are struck down by tragedy, we need to know that our friends really care.  And we need to know that God cares, God really listens, and God will never leave us.

Why is it that so many famous writers, poets, philosophers, and scientists have turned time and again to the book of Job?  Perhaps because it easily takes its place among the masterpieces of the world’s literature.  The author of Job was a poet of rare genius who powerfully expressed our deepest feelings and thoughts.  Sooner or later, we all identify with Job because suffering is part and parcel of life.  We are bonded to Job through our common experience of pain.  Many reject God, but no one rejects Job.  Simply by suffering so greatly and hanging on for dear life through it all, Job has won our hearts.

As Stephen Lawson puts it, heaven is often silent.  In such times, the only answer God gives is a deeper revelation of Himself.  We learn that He is the answer we seek.  Ultimately we must not trust a plan, but a Person.  There is something about our questioning minds that longs for answers.  If we only knew, we reason, we could handle our pain.  Yet placing God’s infinite wisdom into our finite brains would be like trying to pour the Atlantic Ocean into a Dixie Cup.  It just wouldn’t fit.  It’s too vast and deep.

Job’s faith wavered.  He mourned.  He cried.  He protested.  He questioned.  He even cursed the day of his birth.  But he never cursed God.  In the face of adversity, he remained firm in his only hope – God.  When our world falls apart unexpectedly, we must  not dwell on why but on who.  Only God’s disclosure of Himself is powerful enough to heal the heart and relieve the pain.

Job in his sufferings, said Mike Mason, resembled Jesus on the cross.  The only person who has ever endured more than Job was Jesus of Nazareth. We do not need to have nails driven into our hands and feet to know what a cross is.  A cross is a cross.  To be crushed is to be crushed, and we all have had a taste of this.  Job in his suffering was looking for what could only be found in a manger, on a cross, in an empty tomb.  The key to Job’s sufferings, and indeed to life itself, is the cross.  Jesus did not rise above suffering; he went through it.  Jesus let himself be captured by soldiers, tried by legalists and bureaucrats, condemned by a mob, scourged by mockers, and finally pinned and exhibited like a specimen insect… No amount of suffering could shake either Jesus or Job from their rock-bottom clinging to God.  Though he slay me, said Job, yet will I trust in Him.  We can either curse God and die, or bless God and live.  May we choose Life today that we and our children may live.

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin

-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier/North Shore News

 -award-winning author of the book Battle for the Soul of Canada

for better for worse-Click to check out our newest marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

 

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form.

. In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook. It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook ), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, #102-15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC V4A 0A5, Canada.

– In order to obtain a copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ‘Ed Hird’, #102-15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC V4A 0A5.

For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $4.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca 


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Humbled by the Mystery of Marriage

By the Rev. Dr. Ed HirdDr JI Packer picture

The famous Vancouver-based author Dr. J.I. Packer once commented that “marriage, being the most delicate and demanding of relationships, as well as potentially the most delightful, is a terribly difficult topic on which to write wisely and well.” In spite of such concerns, Dr. Packer agreed to write a foreword endorsing a Gold Medallion Book Award winner entitled “The Mystery of Marriage”. “Rarely”, says Packer, “has a new book roused in me so much enthusiasm as has the combination of wisdom, depth, dignity and glow … that I find in these chapters. “

The author, Mike Mason, believes that marriage comes to everyone as an intense invasion of one’s privacy. That is why he believes that there is in us “a secret resentment of the demands of marriage, a reluctance to give way any more than is absolutely necessary.” In all of us, there is a struggle between the needs for dependence and for independence, between the urge toward loving cooperation and the opposite urge toward detachment, privacy, self sufficiency.

 

One of the hardest things in marriage, says Mason, is the feeling of being watched. It is the constant surveillance that can get to one, that can wear one down like a bright light shining in the eyes, and that leads inevitably to the crumbling of all defenses, all facades, all the customary shams and masquerades of the personality. Being watched, for Mike Mason, is an ambivalent but life giving experience. “Being watched by one who loves is not like being watched by anyone else on earth! No, to be loved as one is being watched is like one thing only: it is like the watchfulness of the Lord God Himself …”

Loving Wisdom

Marriage to Mike Mason is a profound paradox, full of ambiguity. That is why he believes that ” … there is nothing in the world worse than a bad marriage, and at the same time nothing better than a good one.” To be married, says Mason, is to have found in a total stranger a near and long lost relative, a true blood relative even closer to us than father or mother.

 

Marriage for Mason is an act of contemplation. It is a divine pondering, an exercise in amazement. “Marriage, as simply as it can be defined, is the contemplation of the love of God in and through the form of another human being.”

Part of the mystery of marriage is that you can never exhaust the uniqueness and otherness of one’s partner.  Along with growing familiarity, marriage brings a growing sense of the strangeness and unknowability of one’s spouse.  As Mason puts it, ‘There is just something so purely and untouchably mysterious in the fact of living out one’s days cheek by jowl under the same roof with another being who always remains, no matter how close you manage to get, essentially a stranger. You know this person better than you have ever known anyone, yet often you wonder whether you know them at all.”

Love, for Mason, is an earthquake that relocates the center of the universe. Our natural tendency is to treat people as if they were not “others” at all, but merely aspects of ourselves. In a loving marriage, we cease to be the centre of our own universe. The very purpose of marriage is to draw us beyond ourselves, to “get us out beyond our depth, out of the shallows of our own secure egocentricity and into the dangerous and unpredictable depths of a real interpersonal encounter,” That is why marriage is so disturbingly intense and disruptively involving. “Angering, humiliating, melting, chastening, purifying, marriage touches us where we hurt most, in the place of our lovelessness.”

 

Marriage, says Mason, is one of God’s most powerful secret weapons for the revolutionizing of the human heart. It is a heavy, concentrated barrage upon the place of our greatest weakness, which is our relationship with others.

Heart

Marriage to Mason is the beating heart of society itself. Why do people love weddings so much? Because “every time a wedding takes place, the highest hopes and ideals of the whole community are rekindled”. For most people, says Mason, marriage is the single most wholehearted step they will ever take toward a fulfilling of Jesus’ command to love one’s neighbour as oneself.

 

Marriage is inevitably the flagship of all other relationships. One’s own home is the place where love must first be practised before it can truly be practiced anywhere else. My prayer for those reading this article is that love will first be practised in our homes and our marriages, so that it may truly overflow from our homes to bless the rest of our world.

 The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin

-author of the award-winning book Battle for the Soul of Canada

-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier/North Shore News

for better for worse-Click to check out our newest marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

 

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form. In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook.

It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook ), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, #102-15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC V4A 0A5, Canada.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ‘Ed Hird’, #102-15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC V4A 0A5.

For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $4.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca