Poisonous Roses

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So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD and struck Job with loathsome sores from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. —Job 2:7, ESV

The blisters started as pinpricks and ballooned to atrocities the size of milk carton caps that adorned my knees. Angry red blotches swelled out to unnatural shapes.

Looking down at myself, I felt a disconnect between what I saw and accepting it was my own body. The effects of poison ivy do not materialize immediately, and the offending poison can hang around, invisible, on anything it has touched.

Although I had been exposed the previous week, nothing materialized until four days later. As more blisters appeared and nothing seemed to help, I decided to seek help from a doctor. My reaction was so severe they did not want to believe it was poison ivy.

After convincing them of my perilous journey into the yard, they gave me some medicine. However, it would be weeks before my skin would return to any kind of normalcy. I cannot imagine having blisters like these over my whole body as Job did.

And honestly, as painful as mine were, I am sure his were much worse.

At least Job was suffering for righteousness’s sake.

I suffered because of my own bad decision to wear shorts while detangling a vine, poison ivy as it turns out, from a rose bush. The truth is that sometimes we suffer because we are followers of God. Other times we suffer because we live in a fallen world.

Some people say everything happens for a reason, but Solomon tells us that “time and chance happen to them all” (Ecclesiastes 9:11, ESV).

Not everything in this world happens for a “good” reason.

Sometimes things just happen, and maybe how we react to the situation holds greater significance than the root cause of our suffering.

Whom we follow and what we really believe will be revealed when we are the most vulnerable. Will we be poisonous roses spreading misery to match our own, or will we bloom as fragrant roses, perfuming the lives of others with Jesus’ love in the midst of our own suffering—as Jesus did? Dear Lord, help me today to take things as they are, to realize that good and bad things happen sometimes by chance and that Your silence does not mean You do not care. Although I may go through various struggles and complain like Job, I know You will be with me the whole way—I just need to ask. Thank You, Lord. Amen.

Deidre A. Jones

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