Rip! Tear! Snap! What was that? Oh, it was just my heart, breaking in two! What are you facing, dear reader? For me, it was saying goodbye to my son, daughter-by-choice, and three grandchildren: ages one, three, and five. It’s breaking my heart!
For eight years, my son and his family have lived close by. For seven of those years, he and his wife served beside us in our ministry. Now, they will be 1,200 miles way: yes, close enough to drive to, yes, we’ll see them again, but that’s not the point! No more grandkid sleep-overs—watching the cousins play together, no more family gatherings for every holiday, (especially Memorial Day and July 4th which had become a family tradition). No more singing together in church as a family, no more just stopping in, no more… It’s done.
I can look at others in our small congregation who are facing HUGE trials which make me feel like a spoiled brat—and I am, or have been, but that doesn’t make the pain go away! I can quote one of my favorite lines from Ever After, where Cinderella’s stepmother says, “Just remember, things can always get worse.” It’s true! What comfort! At least, it makes me laugh, albeit a little too hysterically.
I’ve been really thinking a lot about Job lately—now that will put things into the right perspective! He lost everything. Do you realize that HE LOST EVERYTHING?!!!
Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped, And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD. Job 1:20,21
Now there’s a man with a proper focus! He never shows a “poor me” attitude, he doesn’t blame God, he doesn’t blame the servants by saying something stupid like, “What were you doing over there near the Sabeans anyway!” He doesn’t bemoan his children’s actions: “I told them to build stronger houses, and what were they all doing together? Didn’t you see this coming?” He didn’t even blame himself by saying, “I should have…” He simply accepts it as from the Lord. Some would call that weak. I’d call it amazing grace, which we cannot work up. It MUST come from God. When times are really tough, we can only anchor ourselves in the grace which we receive through our time in prayer and His Word, coming to our God with a yielded heart.
But that’s not all! When Satan smites Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown (2:6), there are no words this time. I’m not sure if the scraping with pieces of broken clay pots and sitting in ashes were medicinal or acts of contrition—probably a little of both, but we see a man who gets no help from anyone. We often think ill of Job’s wife, but can we even imagine this woman’s overwhelming grief? We don’t know the time lapse between Satan’s first and second attack, but we do know that the first attack was sudden, all at one time. In a matter of moments, everything is gone. Was she there when the servants came running in with bad news, one right after another? Where they still digging through the rubble to find the bodies of her children? How long did she have to even try to digest the information before she awoke to find her husband writhing in pain? And what would you have said? I can’t condemn her! And once again, Job’s comment stops us short:
…shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?
In all this did not Job sin with his lips. (2:10)
Where will you go for comfort? For healing? What will you try to use to fill up the empty, aching hole in your heart? How are you going to react? Anger feels so good and bitterness tastes sweet when we allow Satan to whisper in our ear!
I have chosen to stay on my Rock, and here is my mantra:
Lord, I will trust You –
When I don’t understand
When my heart is breaking
When I am alone
When I am poor
When my character has been maligned
When I am tired
When I am empty
When I am discouraged
When I am depressed
When I am questioning EVERYTHING
When I am full of doubts
When my dreams are shattered, I will trust YOU!
And I will NOT stop praising and serving You!
Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. John 6:68
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