Sabbatical 2017

Sabbatical 2017
Thames River, London

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Grief and the Wisdom of Job

It's the large, painful events in our lives that produce grief. The losses we suffer can hurt in a wide variety of ways. Many of them in huge and sometimes life-changing ways.

Ironically, it's the smaller and unexpected moments that can unexpectedly being all this to the surface. You can be cruising through your day, thinking you've got a handle on the situation when something small occurs. It may be a sound you hear, or a phrase someone innocently uses in conversation, a fragrance wafting through the room, it can be anything. All of a sudden, grief washes over you like a huge wave breaking over the shore. You're caught by surprise, engulfed, rolling along the bottom and being turned upside down and inside out.

I'm sure the Reece's have a number of those moments every day.

I had one last night. I was sitting at the AV Desk at church, putting some things on the overhead for Casey's memorial service tomorrow. The worship band was practicing for Sunday morning. I had just put Casey's picture up on the screen and added the words, "Casey, we love you and we miss you". I was looking at the picture and listening to the team sing 'I Can Only Imagine' and the wave hit me. I must have had my back turned to the ocean because I didn't see it coming. There I was, being tossed around like a ping pong ball caught in the surf.

The pain of grief is real. It is tangible.

Job experienced the same type of pain. He was living well in a comfortable life. He was a godly man, declared "blameless and upright" by the lips of God Himself (Job 1:8). In just a few brief moments, Job experienced incredible personal, intimate loss (Job 1:13-19).

We speak frequently of 'the wisdom of Job'. We see that wisdom in Job's reaction to this wholly devastating and dark news that would change his life forever. Job's pain was real. His grief was inestimable. Yet, at that very moment when no one would ever deny Job a few moments of anger and frustration, what did he do?

He tore his robes and shaved his head (outward signs of grief)....and he fell down.......and he worshiped (Job 1:20).

Job worshiped his God.

He didn't understand what was going on. If we read further on the book, we find that those close to him didn't understand either. Things looked dark and hopeless. Job did what he was created to do, even though he was in incredible pain, he worshiped God.

In reading the rest of Job, we find that Satan had a plan and a scheme to turn Job away from God. And God used Satan's own plan to draw Job closer to Him. Job, in his great, God given wisdom did the only thing he knew to do when his life began to fall apart.......he worshiped God. Later, he would tell his friends, "...even if He takes MY life, I will still hope in Him" (Job 13:15)

Remembering all this, as I sat at the AV desk, I just leaned back and started praising Him for His great wisdom and my lack of any wisdom whatsoever. His presence and warmth washed over me. I could feel His touch and hear His voice.

Oddly, the pain of grief was not washed away. It was still there. the only difference was that His presence brought reason and hope to my grief..... God was drawing me nearer.

When in doubt, worship Him. When in pain worship Him. When you feel like it's the very last thing you want to do, worship Him. Give your grief and pain to Him and watch Him gain victory over the darkness and hurt that are part of this fallen world we live in.

Job was blameless and upright in the 1st chapter. In the last chapter, through all Job's pain and grief, God says something wonderful about Job. He says, "Job has spoken right about me" (Job 42:8). The we see the ultimate result of Job's decision to worship God; restoration and blessing (Job 42:10-17).

May God grant that we all have the wisdom of Job.

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