Summary: Job teaches us that through loss, God responds to us as a father shaping, molding and blessing even in the pain.
We are here tonight once again following the theme, Hanging in There. I want us to look at the subject, Hanging in There Through Loss. The loss of something special is always grievous.
Those who study grief have learned that grief has a pattern. At times that pattern is longer for some than it is for others. When we go through grief, there are at least 5 stages we work through.
1) First we are numb. We don’t feel anything. We just sit there with no feeling.
2) The second stage is denial. “I don’t believe this is happening to me.” We imagine that it is not real.
3) The third stage is blame. We want to blame somebody. Often we want to blame ourselves. Somehow we feel responsible for what has happened.
4) The fourth stage is anger. We are angry. We are angry that this has happened to us. In death we may find ourselves angry with the one who died ... that’s not uncommon. We may even be angry with God.
5) The fifth stage is acceptance. We simply come to terms with our loss. We accept that this has happened.
I believe the pattern is always there. When we work through grief we hit every one of those stages. There are those who never seem to get past the grief. They never seem to work through it.
The Loss of Those You Love
There are two types of loss that bring us grief. First of all, there is the loss of people whom we love and who love us. Some of us have recently experienced this. We grieve over the fact that someone we have a special relationship with has died or moved away or has separated themselves from our fellowship.
Joe Bayly, a man who lost 3 children, two of them while they were still teenagers wrote a book: A View From the Hearse. The title alone is painful. And yet he was trying to share something of what it means to pass through that grief.
John Claypool, a pastor, after seeing a daughter die of leukemia wrote a book, Tracks of a Fellow Struggler. It’s not easy to go through. But it’s helpful when someone who has shows us how. It is not always through death. Sometimes it can be in other forms of loss.
It can be loss through divorce. A child loses a parent because one of them has to move out. Sometimes even in church we know something about that kind of loss. Because of a misunderstanding, people move on. Long standing relationships that were very special suddenly were terminated. Most of us have experienced that.
When we lose someone that is meaningful to us, someone we love, then we go through loss that is painful. That is one kind of loss that’s hard to bear. Have you ever considered God’s message in the loss of those you love?
The Loss of Things You Love
Also, we lose things that are valuable to us. Such things as a job, a house. Last week, the Cattle Company restaurant burned down, and Adam Carter had to temporarily, we hope, relocate to another store. I have seen people devastated when their houses burned down. Not only do they lose their things but in many cases they lose their memories. Cherished pictures and mementos are forever lost. Sometimes we lose a dream. I think sometimes we nurture dreams all across the years and when it becomes plain that the dream is not going to materialize, that is a painful time.
It may be the loss of an arm, or the loss of some bodily function ... or the loss of our health. All of these things bring us grief.
So, how do we hang in there when they come?
Tonight, I want us to look at a man, from the Old Testament, that has some things to say to us, because he knew what it was to lose.
But by losing, he found a way to gain. I want us to look at Job.
Job lost, both persons that were special to him, and things that were special to him. Sometimes we put Job in a category apart from the rest of us. We immortalize him and glamorize him because we believe he was a man of great patience. That is what the book of James suggests. Sometimes though, if we study Job carefully, I don’t think he was all that patient. Yet, he worked through his loss and found some answers.
First, let’s consider what Job had. Before we can understand the loss we have to know what he had, what his possessions were.
Job was a man who had a beautiful home. He had 10 children, 7 boys and 3 girls. These children were very special to him. The psalmist would say children were like arrows. “Blessed is the man whose quiver is full.” Job’s quiver was full. He was a man of godliness.