Job 6:2-4 “Oh that my grief were throughly weighed, and my calamity laid in the balances together! For now it would be heavier than the sand of the sea: therefore my words are swallowed up. For the arrows of the Almighty are within me, the poison whereof drinketh up my spirit: the terrors of God do set themselves in array against me.”
The day was cold. Snow had fallen and it was just one of those days you hunker down with a good book and something hot to drink. As I drove out, I began to meditate on what it was I had been asked to do. A dear family member had asked me to be the minister for the funeral for her husband’s mother who had passed away. She had lived a long life and had much to testify of her life. She was a giver. She had volunteered long and often. But she had also known her share of sorrow.
As I arrived, I went through the schedule of what was needed and talked with some of the funeral home workers. In our conversation, they shared that this was one of seven funerals that day. I commented that it seemed to be quite a few. He responded that the Saturday previous, they had twelve funerals between the three funeral homes within a ten mile radius.
We discussed what might have been the contributing factors to the rise in deaths during the holiday season, but one thing stood out – there was going to be a large group of people grieving this Christmas. Then it hit me – this was the third funeral for me to attend in the span of about a month.
My dear father lost his wife who succumbed to her battle with ALS. She was in her 80’s. My son and daughter-in-law lost her Mom to brain cancer. She was 57. The compassion in me rose to their grief and I began to remember losing my own mother in 2001. Whether it was the time of season, the closeness to each of the recent people that had died or the shared grief of those I love; I began to weep.
I missed my Mom.
Grief and grieving takes on many forms. As I read in Job today, he stated,
Job 6:4 “For the arrows of the Almighty are within me, the poison whereof drinketh up my spirit: the terrors of God do set themselves in array against me.”
The grief he had felt was over an excruciating loss of family and wealth. Outside of his wife, all of his children were taken in a violent accident. His flocks, which were his livelihood were either stolen or destroyed. As if that were not bad enough, his body was stricken from head to toe with puss-filled boils. On top of all that, his three closest friends began to reason with him as to why he was in such a state as if to accuse him of some secret sin now exposed.
Who would blame Job for his wanting to die? He was overcome with such grief as only one other in the Bible. Jesus Christ was abandoned by everyone in the end. The full weight of every sin ever committed and would ever be committed was laid upon Him. As He hung on that cross that day, even His Father turned His back on His own Son.
Job relates to us that his grief felt as if his spirit; his very life was literally being sucked out of him. If we do not know how to deal with or handle such grief, it will destroy us. We can complain as to the cause of our grief, but more often than not, it is out of our control.
But I truly believe that the Word of God has for us, everything we need to not only survive, but thrive. Yes, Job suffered one of the greatest setbacks in history. But, we must learn how he coped. When all seemed lost and there was no explanation given – earthly or Heavenly – he relied on his faith.
He shares with us his desire to find solace in the presence of God:
Job 23:3 “Oh that I knew where I might find him! that I might come even to his seat!”
But, alas, God is silent to him. His faith begins to rise:
Job 23:4-6 “I would order my cause before him, and fill my mouth with arguments. I would know the words which he would answer me, and understand what he would say unto me. Will he plead against me with his great power? No; but he would put strength in me.”
Hope is one of the most amazing things. It can literally swallow up situation and circumstance. But we must hope in that which is eternal. Hope in anything but God will disappoint. Job shares with us the rise of his faith in God:
Job 23:8-10 “Behold, I go forward, but he is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive him: On the left hand, where he doth work, but I cannot behold him: he hideth himself on the right hand, that I cannot see him: But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.”
Brother Lester Roloff once said of this truth, “I tried to get God on my radar and failed. But, thanks be to God, I know I’m on His!” Though we may fail to secure our grief with such things we can see and touch, God has a way though our grief by just taking His hand and allowing us to walk with Him through the deepest, darkest valley we have faced.
We are promised that it will never be more than we can handle.
1 Corinthians 10:13 “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”
Jesus faced the greatest test with every fiber of His humanity crying out:
Matthew 26:39 “And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.”
In His utter obedience to the will of the Father, He succumbed to the beatings, the mockery, the scorn, the pain. the agony and the shame of the cross. But He saw what we could not:
Hebrews 12:2 “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Whatever it is you and I may face in this life, it is all temporary compared to an eternity in Heaven with our Father, Jesus Christ and all those gone before us. We are reminded:
James 4:14 “Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.”
With the temperature at -2 degrees this morning, I can go outside and exhale to see the water vapor of my breath appear and vanish in seconds. I see that and think – that is what my life will seem like in eternity.
Whether you are today, take heart. It may be because of Satan moving the hand of God against you like Job, or receiving the fruit of our own bad decisions. Whatever the case may be, cling to hope. Look to the Word of God for comfort. Cling closely to the One who promised to send the Comforter.
Belief in the resurrected Christ is our hope of eternal life. Rest in that hope. Cling to the truth of the presence of God in your life. Feelings will come and go. Sorrow and grief have their time. To every time there is a season. Yours may be filled with joy or grief right now; but know that all is temporary compared to Heaven.