Monday, September 3, 2012

Learning from Loss

"Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I will depart.
The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away;
may the name of the LORD be praised."
Job 1:21

The man who spoke these words thousands of years ago*, wrote them after experiencing a tremendous amount of loss. 

Job lost his sheep, his oxen, his donkeys, his camels, his health and every one of his ten children. Yes, all of his ten children.

And to make matters worse, after suffering this great loss, his wife ridiculed him for holding on to his integrity. Her words of advice to him: "Curse God and die!" How's that for kicking a man while he's down?

And why, you ask, would Job have to suffer so? Perhaps he was suffering from rebellion against God. Maybe for ignoring God during the course of his days. Maybe for living a life that's contrary to God's laws.

Actually, the Bible says this about Job: "This man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil." Job 1:1 Job was a good man -- a godly man, even.

Job shows us a few things we would do well to understand about loss and pain:

Loss Comes to Us All

"Funeral Procession" by Ellis Wilson
We all endure pain and loss in life. From the moment we enter the world, we begin lives filled with ups and downs. We have good days and bad. We have joys and sorrows. We enjoy great gains and great losses.

Just last week, I traveled to Baltimore, Maryland to attend the funeral of my dear Aunt Augusta. My life is full of memories of Aunt Augusta's good cooking, her calm, soft-spoken nature and her comfortable home that I spent many a night in during my childhood. Aunt Augusta (affectionately known as Aunt Chuckie) had suffered from various illnesses over the years, but in the end, she died after a tragic freak accident.

Loss has been an unwelcome companion to me and my family these days.

Has it been your unwelcome companion too?

Loss Is Not Always Punishment

Job reminds us that loss doesn't only come to evil men and women. Loss comes to godly men and godly women. Loss comes to children -- innocent babies, even. Loss is a part of life. It is a part of every life.

Job's response to his wife's advice to "curse God and die" sheds light on this. His words: "You are talking foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?"

A question we must ask ourselves. Will we only accept the good times in life? We must accept the good with the bad, the joy with the heartache, the harvest with the droughts.

Loss Can Make Us Better

If we endure the heartaches of life, and continue to trust God through them, God will make us better for it. I've endured my share of loss in life: two miscarriages, multiple relocations, and career disappointments, just to name a few.

Each time, I've had days I thought I wouldn't make it through to the other side. Yet, I always do. And not only do I make it through, but I come out the other side looking a little more like the Savior.

I'm sure you've experienced your share of loss too.

My Sister, just know there is purpose in pain. God loves you. Trust Him.

Even through the losses of life.


Carla **

* Quick Bible Tidbit: Bible scholars believe that Job's writings were the first written - even before the book of Genesis.

** Carla Adair Hendricks is a pastor's wife (since 2001), a Mama to four beautiful, rambunctious children, an adoption/foster care advocate, a writer, a lover of current events and public policy and a lover and follower of Jesus Christ. (Definitely not in that order!) She currently resides in Conway, Arkansas, but also calls Baltimore, Maryland and Franklin, Tennessee home. She founded "A Pastor's Wife's Garden" to encourage and uplift ministry wives around the globe, but has been pleasantly surprised over the blessing this blog has been to women from all walks of life. Visit her personal blog, "Deep Waters" here, and join Carla and other ministry wives every Monday right here at "A Pastor's Wife's Garden" for weekly encouragement.

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