Small Group Tools
Contemporary Comments 2016
Texts: Job 1:1-12; Zechariah 3:2; Matthew 4:1; Ezekiel 28:12-16; Romans 3:26; Hebrews 2:14
Joy recently listened as the TV news anchor began a segment on a “bad boss” contest. The story touched a nerve. “Think I should write in?” Joy asked her husband. “Not if you want to keep your job,” Tim replied. Joy’s situation became intolerable, giving her sleepless nights, headaches, stomach pain and a panic attack.
Joy loved her job, but her supervisor chastised her for emailing co-workers instead of walking to their offices to speak with them. Joy has a disability that makes walking difficult, and office stress caused her symptoms to flare. Her doctor told her to limit her walking until the flare subsided. When she explained this to her boss, she responded harshly. Crushed, Joy called her husband sobbing, “Tim, I can’t do this anymore. I’m going to quit!” Tim said, “Why not talk with human resources to see if they can help?”
The HR director met with Joy and her boss. Joy began, “I enjoy working here, but I admit that I’ve struggled with the changes at the office. I’ve been frustrated and angry and I’ve allowed that to spill over into my relationship with you and my co-workers. I’m sorry. It was unprofessional. I understand the frustration at how my disability limits my personal interaction,” she continued. “It frustrates me, too. But as much as I’d like to change it, I can’t.” As Joy spoke, she saw her boss’s face soften.
The meeting concluded and Joy felt validated and heard. Her supervisor had a new understanding of her illness. A few months later Joy got a different supervisor, one whose management style worked well for her and which gave her an opportunity to gain new skills. “If I had quit when I wanted to, I would have missed this opportunity to gain new skills,” Joy explains. She loves her job and looks forward to going to work each day. “It’s the most satisfying job I’ve had in my entire professional career,” she says.1
Conflict is just a normal fact of life. Our lesson this week pulls back the curtain to reveal the cosmic battle behind our daily struggles. Though Job’s situation is extreme, we’ve all felt like him at times—attacked by forces beyond our control and understanding. Though Job lived a seemingly blameless life, conflict still found him.
In the book of Job we see how the supernatural battle between good and evil, between Christ and Satan, often plays out in our everyday lives. We can do our best, but unseen powers still have the opportunity to wreak havoc in both the mundane and the exceptional details of life. The good news for us is found in the cross; good ultimately triumphs over evil. As Joy and Job both discovered, persisting through conflict can lead to better things in this life and the life to come.
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