When I was younger I used to always think that pretty everyone grew up the way I did: in good health, with two supportive parents and siblings, with lots of toys, in a nice suburb, and having some understanding of God. I heard stories on the news about people that killed their family members or children that grew up homeless. I even heard my own parents tell of instances where they were pretty much physically and mentally abused by their parents, but to me may as well have been fairy tales.
I didn’t grow up with a silver spoon in my mouth by any stretch of the imagination, but it wasn’t until a few years ago that I realized that God had blessed me and that many (maybe even most) people did not grow up with such luxuries. Before that realization, I was naïve in many ways.
While reading the story of Job, verses 20-22 really stuck out to me: “Job stood up and tore his robe in grief. Then he shaved his head and fell to the ground to worship. He said, ‘I came naked from my mother’s womb, and I will be naked when I leave. The Lord gave me what I had, and the Lord has taken it away. Praise the name of the Lord!’ In all of this, Job did not sin by blaming God.”
In a matter of a few minutes Job, an affluent, successful businessman with a great family, found out that he had lost nearly all of his employees, livestock, money and family members. Can you even imagine what it might be like—to lose all of the things that you hold dear to you so quickly? I might literally go insane from the grief!
But Job was a man of God and he knew that not everyone had the things he had. Not everyone lived in a nice house, owned land, had a great family that they had dinner with every week, and had their own large staff. So when confronted with loss, he wisely said “The Lord gave me what I had, and the Lord has taken it away.” God gives us the things (and people) that we have in our lives, and he has the ability to take them away, or (as in Job’s case) allow them to be taken away in an instant.
The most important part of Job’s reaction, though, was that through all of the sadness and grief, he did not once sin by blaming God for the situation he was in. In fact he praised him! It's okay to grieve, even Job did. The bible says that it is okay to be angry, but not okay to sin. I believe that this is one of the hardest things for human being to do. We focus so much on how we are feeling that we can’t see beyond our situation. In times of distress we often cling to the things we HAD and fail to focus on what we currently HAVE
Job saw the bigger picture. He saw a God that had blessed him beyond measure for many years of his life. He saw the glass as half full rather than half empty. It is hard, but we need to do the same in tough situations and see a God who gave us the ultimate sacrifice—his sinless son as redemption for our sins—rather than the thing that he took away from us. We have no right to sin when God decides to exert his control over our lives. In everything, we should give him thanks because he is MORE THAN worthy.
Today’s Prayer: Lord, I pray for everyone out there that is struggling with a loss that seems impossible recover from, whether it is the loss of a loved one, wealth, or a job. Help them to realize that you gave them the things they once had and that there is always someone out there that has it worse. You are in control and know what is best, and despite this tough situation you are still worthy of praise. In Jesus’ name. Amen!
Merciful Mondays: Jael
“For the Lord your God is a merciful God; he will not abandon you or destroy you or forget the solemn covenant he made with your ancestors.” Deuteronomy 4:31