ODJ: Life and Loss

June 9, 2016 

READ: Job 1:1-22 

I had only heard about you before, but now I have seen you with my own eyes (42:5).

Since the early days of human existence it’s been a constant foe. Recently it came calling in a friend’s life as she lamented her children not walking with Jesus. Another friend bemoaned the death of what had been a loving marriage. A family member looked at me with teary eyes, trying to form words that couldn’t come due to dementia. Another family member, deep in the throes of grief because of her father’s death, said softly, “I can’t believe he’s gone.”

Loss affects us all.

Job experienced unimaginable loss. A good man in God’s eyes, he was concerned that his children possibly weren’t honouring their Creator in their “celebrations” (Job 1:1,4-5). Then, tearing at the very fabric of his soul, all of his sons and daughters died in a devastating catastrophe (v.19). What’s more, nearly all of his servants and hired help were murdered. His vast earthly goods were also stolen, leaving him broke and broken. Then a painful skin condition came calling (2:7-8).

Finally, as if the loss were not cruel and agonising enough, Job’s wife verbalised lost hope and faith. “Curse God and die,” she said to her husband (v.9).

We can identify with Job’s plight, even if we can’t fathom the extent of it. But we can also marvel at his initial responses. He praised God. “The Lord gave me what I had, and the Lord has taken it away. Praise the name of the Lord” (1:21). He acknowledged God’s rule over all creation. Job said, “Should we accept only good things from the hand of God and never anything bad?” (2:10).

Job had walked with God. But as he came through the fires of loss, he came to know and see Him more fully (42:5). May we do the same as God walks with us through loss.

—Tom Felten

365-day plan: Matthew 1:1-25

Read Isaiah 41:10 and consider what it says about God being present with us as we face loss in life. 
How have you suffered loss lately? Where are you going with your pain? How can God’s presence comfort and steady you?