In the last post, I introduced a new series on suffering and loss. Since it is something that we will all come across at least once in our lifetimes, if not multiple times, I think it is very important that we know what to do and how to react in these situations. I am so thankful for the Word of God that gives us multiple examples of suffering and how to deal with it.
If you recall, I specifically focused on the story of Job. He had lost everything in his life including cattle, his livelihood, and his children all at once. When everyone expected him to curse God, he surprised everyone, including the devil, by praising the Lord as his first response. The lesson that we learned from Job is that we do not worship God because of our circumstances, but in knowing who God is! He is sovereign, and our minds cannot comprehend even a small percentage of His grand design.
If you are anything like me, then your first impression of Job was that he could not possibly be human. When you continue to read the book of Job, you find out that he even lost his health immediately after praising the Lord. So how does he respond? In a not-so-unexpected twist, he mourns his loss.
And they sat with him on the ground seven days and seven nights, and no one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his suffering was very great.| Job 2:13
This man who lost just about everything, responds in a very human manner. For seven days, he literally sits on the ground without eating, drinking, or bathing. He observes a time of mourning with his friends. In fact, when he finally speaks, he confides in them about the depths of his agony. At one point, he says that his greatest fear has come true (Job 3:25-26). His depression becomes so overwhelming at times that he even questions why he was even born.
I think as Christians and society in general, we have a weird perception of mourning regarding when and how it should occur. We think that the only appropriate time is immediately after one’s suffering or loss, but in reality, one can experience mourning or loss prior to or even long after the said event. For example, when someone is diagnosed with a terminal illness, the mourning may begin at diagnosis for many people.
I think a great example of this is King David. When he committed adultery with Bathsheba and sent her husband to his death, God punished David by allowing his and Bathsheba’s baby to become deathly ill. For seven days king David fasted and prayed, but the baby passed away shortly thereafter. David’s servants were so afraid of how David would react to the sad news, but when he did find out that his child had passed away, David got up, washed, changed his clothes, went into the house of the Lord to worship, returned home, and ate food. His servants were so shocked by his behavior that they actually confronted him. This was David’s response:
While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept, for I said, ‘who knows whether the Lord will be gracious to me, that the child may live?’ But now he is dead. Why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he will not return to me. | II Samuel 12:22-23
David observed his time of mourning, but he got up with hope! David knew that his son would not come back to this earth, but he had a hope that he would see him again in eternity!
The point I am trying to make is that there’s nothing wrong with mourning for your loss. God created us to feel very deep emotions, not to pretend to be robots. It takes time to process and to heal, and this will be a lifelong thing. There will be times when it is all you can think about, and there will be days when you are going about your business and the wound is re-opened and feels as raw as it did the first time.
There is a time for every season including loss, but remember that joy comes in the morning!
There is hope.
However, when you are going through loss, don’t try to brush those emotions under the rug, don’t try to endure it by yourself. Be honest with other believers so that they can help support and encourage you. Most importantly, cry out to God because He knows exactly what you are going through and only He can bring you comfort and healing.
Love is greater and stronger than anything that comes along in this life. Even death.