After teaching a lesson on Job last night I couldn’t get some of the truths in the first two chapters out of my mind. I then thought of so many friends who have experienced loss since I lost my husband three years ago. Studying to teach the class on grief has helped me on my journey, even after three years and four months. I decided to share a little of the points. Maybe my friends will be encouraged.
First of all, feelings are valid. The stages of grief are evident in those who mourn. I believe we see great emotion in Job as he grieves. After God allowed him to be stricken with great loss, he still trusted God.
You know the story. Job was a blameless man (not perfect) and he walked with God. He knew his God, he trusted his God. He was known and respected among the people in his community, a leader, a teacher. Job was a benevolent man and helped others. A good and Godly man, yet he lost it all. He lost his livestock from lightening, his servants from the sword, his house from a tornado, and his ten children when the collapsing house fell on him.
Job’s response was opposite what we would think. As custom would have it, he tore his clothes and shaved his head, symbolizing grief. He then fell to the ground…and worshipped, symbolizing his trust in his Jehovah. Think about that, worshipping when he had lost everything. Job was able to worship because God had proved himself faithful in his life over and over. Job had experienced a remarkable relationship with a remarkable Father for many years. He said this, “I came into this world with nothing and I’ll leave with nothing. The LORD give and he takes away. Blessed (a word of adoration and praise) be the name of the Lord.” I believe Job could praise God because he recognized His authority and His sovereignty. He knew His character. He new His NAME (that’s another lesson!)
Finally, Job was stricken with boils all over his body that caused him to go outside the city and sit among the ashes. The blameless, renowned, kind man sat where lepers sat, scratching his boils with pieces of broken pottery. What a dichotomy between what had been and what was.
I had never connected Isaiah 61:3 with Job. This verse says, “…He (God) will give (those who mourn) beauty for ashes…”. The Hebrew word for ashes in Isaiah 61 is the same word in Job. I thought how, as we sit in the ashes of our grief, God promises to bring beauty from this season. Our lives can never be what they once were. We’ve lost someone we loved very much. We will, however, find a new life, a new normal, and even begin to find satisfaction and gladness, as did Job.
The verse in Isaiah says God will “….provide for those who grieve in Zion, to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of HIS glory.” For GOD’S glory! That’s the purpose for it all.
The key to Job’s response was his heart. He suffered loss, he had great grief, but he trusted and bowed his knee to the purpose of his God. For those of us who mourn, may we, too, trust Jehovah. May our posture be that of a surrendered heart and great trust.