Summary: This series examines some of the emotional holes we fall into and how to crawl out.
March 3, 2002
Crawling Out of the Loss Hole
Hear Job’s lament? The opening words of today’s scripture passage tell us that Job was deep in the hole of loss. It says, “After this, Job opened his mouth and cursed the day he was born.” Job is in this hole because of that little two word clause at the start of verse 1, “After this.” Let’s look at what “After this” describes. Turn back to chapter 1 verse 13.
13 One day when Job’s sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the older brother’s house, 14 a messenger came to Job and said, “The oxen were plowing (500 yoke) and the donkeys (500 ) were grazing nearby, 15 and the Sabeans attacked and carried them off. They put the servants to the sword, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!” 16 While he as still speaking another messenger came to him and said, “The fire from God fell from the sky and burned up the sheep (7,000) and the servants, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!” 17 While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said, “ The Chaldeans formed three raiding parties and swept down on the camels (3,000) and carried them off. They put the servants to the sword, and I am the only one that has escaped to tell you.” 18 While he was still speaking, yet another messenger cam and said, “ Your sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother’s house, 19 when suddenly a mighty wind swept in from the desert and struck the four corners of the house. It collapsed on them and they are dead, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!”
Wow!! Talk about loss! He loses his wealth. Remember from last week, his holdings made Job “the greatest man among all the people of the East.” He falls into the loss hole. Next, He losses his family, seven sons and three daughters, all gone, (snap fingers) just like that. The loss hole is dug a little deeper. Chapter 2 tells us that next Job is faced with painful sores from the “soles of his feet to the top of his head.” With a piece of broken pottery “he scrapes himself while sitting amongst the ashes.” The ashes of wealth…GONE. The ashes of health…GONE. The ashes of family…GONE. Is it any wonder that Job now finds himself so down, so disheartened, so defeated, and filled with so much loss that he cries out and curses the day he was born. Job isn’t sinning here folks, we also read in this passage that “In all this Job did not sin in what he said. ” Look you need to know: 1.) It is not sinful to hurt, 2.) It is not sinful to suffer and 3.) It is not sinful to be so distraught over present happenings and so emptied of hope that you wish you had never been born. It isn’t a sin to be in the hole of loss, but I do believe it IS a sin not to crawl out of it or maybe a better way to say that is to “claw” out of it. How do you do that?
Well folks it is as simple and as difficult as the following. There are a few things you need to understand if you are to crawl out of the Loss hole.
First, you are not alone. You might wall yourself off, you might shut everyone out, you may curse the day you were born, you may have done your best to alienate yourself from everyone and everything but regardless of how deep your hole or how wide the rim…you can never be alone. What you face has been faced by countless others and will be faced by another multitude tomorrow. In the blackness you have pulled over yourself…you are not alone.
In the first few years of our marriage Gayle and I traveled with a group of Rush county residents to a little town in the hills of western West Virginia named Grundy. Grundy West Virginia is a town that is twelve miles long and one street wide with one row of houses or businesses on each side of the road. That means that Grundy Virginia lies in the narrow valleys of some pretty steep hills. This are is known for three things, coal mining, poverty and abandoned kids. We used to go to an orphanage named the Grundy Mountain Mission School. We were a part of a large caravan of trucks filled with food, clothing, shoes and hope. We brought plumbers to fix toilets. We brought dentists to work on teeth. We brought optometrists to work on eyes and glasses. We brought young married couples like Gayle and I to hold hands, wipe noses and rock babies. The kids at Grundy Mountain Mission School looked forward to Thanksgiving week-end all year. They didn’t wait for turkey and dressing or a couple of days off school. They waited for a bunch of people from the far away flat land of Indiana to pull them out of their holes of desperation, even if it were for just a few days a year. On my second trip there I got the chance to go to a deep shaft coal mine. One of the graduates of the mission school owned a coal mine and he was going to show us what most of the people of Grundy did for a living. We descended a hundreds of feet into the bowels of the earth. When we got to the bottom, we road a little narrow vehicle to the face of the coal seam. The way was lit with single naked light bulbs about every ten feet or so. When we arrived at the face there was a bank of flood lights set up to work the seam of coal. We had also been given little miners caps with lights on the front. The owner told us to turn our head lamps off. He wanted us to experience total and I mean TOTAL darkness. I had been standing next to the four-year-old daughter of a friend. When the lights were turned out, the young girl, in a voice filled with as much fear as I have ever heard…where are you, don’t leave me. I touched her and she screamed. She did not calm down until the lights were back on and she could actually see that I was still only inches from her. She had never been alone at all…she just couldn’t see anyone else around her. If she had just reached out she would have realized that no one had moved, she was just as safe as before…she was not alone.