I’ve been thinking a bit about ol’ Job. One moment everything was going well and, like the beer commercials I’ve seen in years past, he might have thought “it doesn’t get any better than this.” Then, without any warning or explanation, he loses everything. Family…assets…eventually even his own health and comfort. All gone in a flash.
After the storm of such tragic loss and sorrow we find Job sitting on a pile of ashes scratching at the sores of his flesh with a broken piece of pottery. (Job 2.8) Even his wife pushes Job to lash out at God and simply die. If every there was a person who knew what it was to suffer loss it was this man. If ever there was a man who know how to endure loss it was Job. One of those verses that could be the testimony of Job’s life during this experience is this: Throughout all this Job did not sin in what he said. (2.10b)
Job wasn’t “cut from a different cloth” than I am. He felt pain…hurt…sorrow…and grief as I do. I have certainly never experienced the sort of losses over the course of my whole life that this man did in mere hours. However, the contrast is stark. Job sat in that pile of ashes, covered with sores, having lost everything, and listening to his beloved wife tell him that he would be better off without God and dead. In all of this Job didn’t sin. He didn’t lash out at God. Yes, in the next chapter we’ll hear some of Job’s sorrow spill out as he questions why he was born and regrets that he’s walking in the shadow of suffering. But, he doesn’t lash out at God…and more importantly he doesn’t give up on God. Hear these words he spoke a little later:
Job 19:25 “And as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, And at the last He will take His stand on the earth.” (NASB)
How humbling it is for me, because—sadly—it really takes so little at times for me to get discouraged, despondent, and depressed. How swiftly at times I find my faith failing and I begin flailing about like a child in deep water crying out for rescue. I enter into “Crisis Mode” with so little stimulus. I wait with dread for the proverbial “next shoe” to drop.
- Loss of a job – CRISIS
- Bounce a Check – CRISIS
- Car Breaks Down – CRISIS
- Milk spoils – CRISIS
Now, honestly, at times I can weather things in my life like a champ, walking with God and trusting in Him completely. Then there are times that the smallest thing will drive me to panic. Since I don’t believe that God is any less powerful or present then He ever has been, the change has to be somewhere in me. I think I have found what makes the difference in my reactions and experiences. It’s about the preparation time before the storm hits.
- I need to spend time in prayer
- I need to spend time in the Bible
- I need to spend time in worship
- I need to spend time in meditation
- I need to spend time in fellowship
I NEED TO SPEND TIME WITH GOD.
See, what I have discovered is that preceding those times of uncontrolled panic in my life I have usually been neglecting my spiritual needs. When I do not feed the spiritual aspect of my life the “non-spiritual” part of me can exert greater control on my feelings and actions. This is not a cure-all for loss—they will still come into my life. But I can be better prepared to deal with them if I don’t neglect this crucial part of who I am as God’s child.
If you need a clear picture of this, consider this very moving picture of Jesus in the garden. It’s been captured in so many way by artists through the centuries. The reason it is so captivating, I believe, is that it shows us the need that our Lord felt before the “crisis of the cross” to be prepared by spending time in prayer with the Father.
If Jesus needed this time of preparation how could I ever think that I could do it myself?
I know that I will experience loss in my life. I don’t like it, but it’s a reality of living here. One day the Lord will welcome me home and there will be no more loss. In the mean time I hope in Him, and that He will provide me with what I need to face and endure the losses of life.
Praying this helps you as you face difficulty and loss as well. Look to Him.