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Y’all should go read Failing Pastor’s blog. He has really cheered me up over the years, encouraged me with his heartfelt and honest posts. He is not pastoring anymore and he has now written a book. His latest blog post is called, “What is the best way to help people spiritually?”

My answer to that question would be, share your story a little bit, share yourself. People around you can sometimes benefit from discovering they aren’t alone and that challenges can be over come or at least survived. And yes, much like Jesus did, just ask people questions. Most people are qualified to solve their own problems and just need someone to point them to some good questions to ask themselves.

One of those questions I struggle with the most is when Jesus says, “do you wish to be healed?” Naturally I think everyone wishes to be healed, everyone wants to fix things, everyone wants to be better. That is so not true, not an accurate reflection of reality at all. Jesus is wise to ask, “do you wish to be healed,” because many people do not, many are not yet willing to let go of whatever is afflicting them. Addiction is one of the most obvious ailments to demonstrate that one must hit bottom and be willing to let go in order to recover, but there are also other things like gossip or feeling sorry for oneself or maintaining a sense of moral superiority.

I also like the tale of the rich young ruler, the one who just went away sad. Many of us are like that, hanging onto afflictions because they have worth and value to us, sentimentalities even. And sometimes afflictions and suffering serve a vital and needed purpose we don’t understand and may not ever understand, not this side of heaven anyway.

I am not a pastor, but when I discovered Failing Pastor’s Blog I was a mom, all the kids were growing up and making their own way in the world, my entire local community was falling apart, church even collapsed, and my neighborhood descended into meth and heroin addiction. Oh, and my husband got really sick too, and nearly died. So you spend all these years pouring yourself into what basically amounts to a complete pile of wreckage. Like, what did I ever do to deserve any of this?? Why is this even happening?

Alas, Christians are not always helpful and churches are not always strong, so at the same time I also discovered that Job’s friends, Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar, are alive and well and full of good advice for people. I learned about churchian culture and the definition of “crop failure”. That’s where bad things happen to you because you didn’t sow right or you failed to sacrifice a goat or something. But I also learned that the Lord will never leave you or forsake you and that He is in the saint making business! Seriously, so much of the Western world is focused on success, prosperity, happiness, that we sometimes forget, God is actually in the saint making business. You don’t make saints by giving them peaceful, prosperous lives, of perpetual comfort and ease. Job wasn’t a failure at all, in fact the Bible says, “Job was a righteous man,” he was “blameless and upright, a man who feared God and turned away from evil.” Job was all that God had hoped him to be, all He had said he was. Job won his race, Job was a success, and everything was restored to him, in abundance.

So anyway, check out Failing Pastor’s blog and buy his book if you feel inclined. I’ve been blessed by him.