I want to share with you today an exerpt from a book I wrote a few years ago about loss: Grief: Finding the Candle of Light (ISBN#: 1-893729-50-8 Energion Publications. 2007)
The most often quoted book of the Bible about loss has to be Job. I am going to use it, too, but hang in there with me and maybe God will show us some â€˜stuffâ€™. Sometimes you can find a precious pearl that is worth a great price!
Job is righteous. That means he had a relationship with God that was good. He raised his family with God as the center.
Then the scene cuts to God. He is having his weekly or monthly meeting with the angels and Satan comes, too. He tells God that he has been â€œroaming aroundâ€. God â€“ yes, GOD, points to Job as an example of what His children should be. Satan tells God that he thinks the reason Job is so â€œgoodâ€ is because God has given him a good life and so he has nothing to complain about. So God tells Satan that he can do anything he wants to torment Job through his family or possessions but he canâ€™t touch Job himself.
So Satan strikes Jobâ€™s stock (he makes his living and feeds his family from that) and kills all of the herds and ALL of his children! All in one day! Jobâ€™s response: he grieves. He tears his clothes and shaves his head (thatâ€™s what they did in those days) BUT Job utters those righteous words: â€œNaked I came into the world â€“ naked I will leave. The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Praise the name of God!â€
Satan isnâ€™t done. He isnâ€™t satisfied with Job praising God in spite of his losses. Satan says that if Job becomes ill then Job will curse God. So God tells Satan he can bring sickness on him â€“ but he canâ€™t kill Job. Satan does that. In the agony of his illness, Jobâ€™s wife even tells him to curse God and die! Hereâ€™s a â€˜pearlâ€™ from Job: â€œShall we accept good from God, and not trouble?â€ (Job 2:10) Job got it. God is in charge of good and evil. Does that mean that God created cancer? No, but God allowed it. If God doesnâ€™t have the ultimate control over everything then how can I believe that He is GOD?! Letâ€™s go on:
As if Job doesnâ€™t have enough trouble with a foolish wife, Job also has three friends that â€“ well, he could have done without! In Chapter 3, Job tells his good friends how he really feels about all that has happened to him. He is grieving. Chapters 4-37 is the discussion between Job and his buddies who are trying to figure out the â€œWhy?â€ of it all. They only succeed is showing the limitations of their abilities to think and reason out our limit-less God!
I think God gets tired of their chatter and begins to speak in Chapters 38-41. God reminds Job of who He is. God is creator of all. He has always been and He always will be. God created the boundaries of everything. Nothing happens without His word. God reminds him that he, Job, is the created, not the creator. Job will not be able to know the complete mind of God. He will not be able to understand everything. It is too BIG with everything inter-connecting in ways we cannot fathom
Job replies in the last chapter that he now â€˜seesâ€™ and â€˜repentsâ€™ for doubting Godâ€™s love. And God forgives Job because he accepts Jobâ€™s prayer and sacrifice for his friends. The story ends with Job receiving multiples over multiples of possessions and having more children.
What does that tell me? (Remember â€“ you will have to seek your own answer to the â€˜whyâ€™ question)
Job received extra-ordinary blessings from the Lord because he was faithful. Questioning God doesnâ€™t mean that I reject Him! It means I love and know He loves me â€“ enough that He is not offended or threatened by my questions! Did Job forget the children he lost? I doubt it. One child doesnâ€™t replace the life of another. God blessing me in one area doesnâ€™t make me forget the loss in another. I just â€˜seeâ€™ the love that God has for me. I know He hasnâ€™t walked away. I know that God isnâ€™t punishing me. Godâ€™s love isnâ€™t conditional. It just is.
Why did James die at the age of 17? Why couldnâ€™t God have done a miraculous healing and used James as an awesome testimony to His power? I know which one I was praying for! I know which one I was believing for!
â€œCome, follow me,â€ Jesus said, â€œand I will make you fishers of men.â€ Matthew 4:19 (NIV)
Jesus called Peter and Andrew and then James and John as his first disciples. He made them fishers of men. God used James to catch a lot of fish. Members of his high school band came to know Jesus through his life as God gave him courage and peace that went far beyond his years. Adults that knew him came closer to God as they prayed for him and watched him walk a path that even they didnâ€™t want to walk. When I lowered my fists and went to my knees, I realized that I could not have asked for any thing better. My son was a disciple of Jesus Christ. He finished his race. He kept the faith. His reward is assured and eternal.
I received this answer. God may have more for me down the road. God will answer you also. It will be your answer to â€œWhy?â€
God continues to answer my why questions. It has been a point of great intimacy and love between us. I am so grateful for His faithfulness, compassion, courage, and wisdom to face each day.
It is Well with my Soul written by Horatio Spafford & Philip Bliss and sung by Hillsong Worship Team