I suffered the loss of my grandpa four years ago. His birthday is on December 20th. His passing was devastating for our entire family and shifted the course of things about as much as I expected it would.
Every year is hard. When the holidays and his birthday roll around, we miss him desperately. I often think about what it would be like if he were still here – blaming the size of his stomach on swallowing a watermelon whole and pretending to speak Czech or Japanese or whatever it was. 😉
The other night I began thinking of loss and how heart-wrenching it actually is.
It made me ask myself the question:
If God were to take everything from me, would He still be enough?
The story of Job rings through my mind day in and day out, reminding me how faithless I can truly be, yet how faithfully I desire to live.
If you’ve read his story, you know that Job’s family was killed, his home was destroyed, his “career” was ripped from him, he became horribly ill – and all of this occurred in a brief period of time. And yet, Job responds with the words, “Shall we receive good from God and shall we not receive evil?”
Aren’t Job’s experiences, at least a portion of them, a reality to many of the people in our churches, our neighborhoods and our families? Aren’t there many moments in which people we love have to desperately search for just one reason to feel gratitude?
In the midst of the holidays, this “merry-and-bright” season may be one that, instead, leaves us longing for our family to be together again. Our hearts may be heavy with a desire for a simpler time in which we didn’t have to worry about financial pressures, family drama, marriage problems or the stress and weariness of life.
In a season where you feel numb and exhausted, instead of thankful, how can you remain faithful?
In my life, all it takes is one frustrating day or one season of hardship and I can immediately lose hope and joy. I focus on the worst and question God’s presence.
Yet, in the midst of losing literally everything, Job still praised God.
He didn’t accuse Him of failing to be present in his life or breaking His promises.
He didn’t numb himself with alcohol or other selfish pleasures.
He didn’t allow anger, bitterness or hatred to succumb his heart.
Instead, He blessed God’s name.
He called out to him in desperation.
He remained sober-minded and trusted His plan.
He kept his heart pure and set his eyes on things of Heaven, and not on things of earth.
In the midst of sorrow and loss, I want to be a woman who continues to praise God in my pain. Even when it’s hard to find the words. Even when my strength is lost.
I want to choose to trust that His plan is so much greater and more profound than anything my finite mind can grasp.
I want to remain in His word, leaning on Him for hope and peace.
I want to allow my pain to bring me to my knees in prayer in ways that I’ve never experienced before.
I want it to remind me of the beauty and fragility of life and guide me in the relationships that God has blessed me with.
When we choose Jesus, He draws near and makes Himself known – even in our anger, disbelief and confusion. His word promises that He works all things toward good for those who love Him; we can’t allow ourselves to doubt in the dark the Truth that we have seen in the light.
James 1:2-4 says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverence. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
God sees your pain and sadness. He loves you desperately and desires for you to cling to Him. He has the power to heal your heart and bring you joy even in the midst of your heartache. The Lord is near to the broken-hearted and the crushed in spirit; He wants you, all of you, every piece of your heart. The aching, the hurting the broken and the healing.
I will continue preaching this to myself this season. Christ is my joy. He is my purpose. He is enough – even when everything else is fading away. There are days when our sadness weighs heavier than others, but let us continue to fight the good fight and keep Him as our all in all – even when it really, really hurts.
“As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.” James 5:11“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Cor. 12:9-10