The sunday sermon has lived on with me this week, and i have often reflected on what there is to learn from Job. And how God has allowed me to experience Job like times. Here are some more lessons i have learned, or are still working through.
Traumatic events need to be grieved– Grieving is not the optimal state for most of us. We want everything clean, neat and tied up with a shiny bow. But have someone you love die, loose that career focused job, have your health shattered with a diagnosis that is not reversable… and the bow unties, and like a pile of wood… it all comes crashing down. Job was the patriarch of a large family, had lots of servants, and was clearly rooted in deep….. In short order he and his wife became childless, their wealth taken away, and his health deteriorated to wheeping sores.
Any one of these things would be more than enough to deal with…. I have grieved the loss of my parents, of friends, of Steve’s dad… and i understand a little bit of how final, how hopeless to change the situation the news of the death of someone is. But not only did he loose 10 children to sudden and devastating death, but his wealth departed him. It is always so much easier to increase in financial stature than it is to decrease. Having tasted of life with more money, the ability to do more, see more, go places, have bigger things… well when that is pulled away from you it is devastating too. But poor Job also had a health condition develop… a difficult condition.
At some point when we go through transitional times in life the only thing we can do is sit in the dust and ashes for a time… numbed by the news, traumatized by the sudden change in our life.
The book of Job is so very important to me because I see how God deals with this series of events. He lets Job grieve in silence, and rage loudly to all who would listen. Yet God remains there, in the midst of his situation, and watches over his faithful servant.
I have learned to lay my concerns out there before God… my grieving, my crying, my fear, anxiety, pain, struggles. God knows where we are, and understands. But like a small child having a tantrum sometimes he just needs to let us get it out of our system before he can respond. So grieve it out… be honest before God.
Each of us grieve differently – Job sat in the ashes speechless for 7 days. His wife was as impacted, but her response was to try to push Job around. I have seen some people never pull out of a time of grieving, stuck in a place where they either lost their joy, lost their hope, or just are unwilling to move on. Perhaps this is where Job;s wife was at… stuck, heartbroken, devistated, lost her sense of purpose as the matriarch of the family… dealing with 10 children gone… all of which she gave birth to. Don;t we know some people like that… so broken apart by their loss that they just find it impossible to move forward.
Others work it through, and move on quickly. In my life grief is something i have wrestled with, and which seems to be under control until a memory triggers… the smell of warm homemade bread, the sounds of some music, seasons…. and suddenly waves of grief rumble back in. My mom has been in heaven for 21 years, but i still miss her, and have my moments when i would just love to hear her voice, or get her encouragement.
The experiences that come to our life are equipped with the power from God to see us through – Last sunday Julio first asked how many people, if they could, would put their troubles in a big ten gallon hat he would pass around. At the end he asked everyone if it were possible to then pass that hat around how many people would choose different troubles? or how many would choose their own? I agree with him… i would take my own troubles hands down over others woes. We each carry burdens that we can lift with the help of God.
The bible says that trials produce fruit in us. They refine us, tame down the wild monster within, and change us little by little into the likeness of God. Its a work in progress, but one day in heaven when we see God face to face we will not even have to ask why we went through the things we did… we will know his powerful work to refine us, and give us his purpose.
In my life right now i must tell you I am thankful and grateful for how God has showed up for us, been there when the bottom fell out, and it seemed like the pit we had fallen in was bottomless. He walked us through grief, forgiveness, and refining our lifes for his purpose… its a work in progress, but I am thankful that He gave us Job to remind us His ways are not ours, and His work is always done well.