Grieving with Job

So what I know about me is that I am a teacher at heart. Because I’m wired that way, maybe also because I come from a long line of teachers, including my mom and dad who were both great public school teachers back in the day. As was Susan. I say that because processing information out loud is not only what teachers do for those listening to them – it’s what tends to help me.

I say that because I think I’ll be processing some stuff out loud here that I’m learning. Just know that I’m not trying to teach YOU, as much as I’m trying to just work through things. (But if you pick up something along the way, it’s a win-win, right?) Even if no one is reading, it’s good for me to do. I think I just have a natural bent to share what I am learning.

I started reading the book of Job yesterday. I’d been avoiding it for awhile (it’s about a guy who lost everything) but it felt like the right time – it was kind of calling to me, if that makes sense. I may post a few thoughts on this book over the next days or weeks, as things hit me. So far I have found great comfort here.

A little backstory (but you may want to read it yourself) – Job was a man who was blameless and upright, and loved God. He had a great family and great wealth. Satan came to the Lord one day and asked to test Job. God was bragging on his servant, and Satan basically said, “Strike everything he has, and see if he still worships you then.” God said, “OK, he is in your hands, just don’t kill him.” So Job subsequently lost his cattle, camels, servants, and ultimately his sons and daughters.

If anyone knew what grief felt like, it was Job.

This is what has drawn me to him in recent days. He began to grieve. The bible says he tore his robe and shaved his head. It also says part of his grieving process was worship. Does this sound counterintuitive? It did to me from the outside looking in. But listen to what he says:

“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.”

He is not only worshiping in the midst of his grief, he is pointing out the truth. Or maybe that’s what worship is anyway – declaring the truth. We have nothing when we come into this world. We will have nothing when we leave. Just me, just you, just your heart, your soul. We are not promised more than that.

This is hard to understand. But I found myself on Sunday morning at church, worshiping God with my church family. I didn’t feel angry at Him, I wasn’t cursing Him. I was sad. And yet, I found myself able to sing and mean the words. I’m not saying that I am someone special or extremely faithful – far from it. Just telling you that in the middle of this, I somehow know a little more of where Job was and why he turned immediately to God and found himself declaring His truth.

It helped me Sunday. It helps me today. Maybe it’s that there is an Answer to all of this out there. Not just out there, but close by. That He is still Lord over all things.

It also helps to remember some of the last words Susan wrote to me – “Don’t waste time being mad at God, Jerel. We both know He is good…”.

Amen.

Much, much more I want to say about Job. Probably enough for today though. Talk to you tomorrow.

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9 Responses to “Grieving with Job”

  1. Katie Robinson Says:

    I’ve been reading Job this week too Jerel …..it has “called” to me from time to time during the past few years as well; weird to say my “favorite” book but definitely the one God has used the most to speak into my life. I am drawn to sobering truth I think … keep writing … i’m tracking…

  2. Sandy Says:

    I write letters to God when there seems to be no sense to my world. It amazes me that by the end of the letter, God has spoken to me and righted my world. Thank you for writing to us. We see your heart for God, and I think He speaks to us through you. The pain will gradually get easier, and the memories more joyful. Let the people God sends your way carry you. Let God use us in serving you in whatever way you need us to. Just let us know–we have your back.

  3. Kara McAbee Says:

    Jerel, I’m struck today by your words, “He is not only worshiping in the midst of his grief, he is pointing out the truth. Or maybe that’s what worship is anyway – declaring the truth.”

    Worship has always been such a profound outlet for me. Whether we worship Him during times of great joys or sadness, plenty or want, triumphs or tragedies, we’re to worship in “spirit and truth”….even if our truth is great sadness. That has always struck me as so difficult when everyone’s singing about having the “joy joy joy joy down in their hearts”, and I’m standing there crying about whatever!

    Thanks for these challenging words today; my your worship during these weeks and months be surrounded by the knowledge that He is listening and is holding you close.

    Your words continue to inspire.
    Kara

  4. Cammie Howard Says:

    Love what Susan wrote to you…and I love your writing brother!

  5. Sheryl Says:

    Amen!!! Thank you for sharing!

  6. Kitty Kruse Says:

    Wow, Jerel, well said. I had a glimpse of this when Matthew was sick in the hospital as a newborn, exactly the thought process you are sharing. It was a profoundly powerful spiritual experience. Two songs that brought this home for me at the time were “Praise You in This Storm” by Casting Crowns and “Held” by Natalie Grant. Thankfully, we did not have to experience the grief you or Job did, and Matthew is OK now. But I will never be the same after that experience. It strengthened and deepened my faith in a way nothing else ever has. We sang “Come Awake” by Matt Maher in church here on Sunday and I was thinking of Susan the whole time. God IS good.

  7. BJ Wright Says:

    Jerel, I’m reading Job as well- going the Chronological
    Bible Reading Plan. I’ve read the Bible through once before,
    although I’ve started and stopped many, many times. I’d never done
    it Chronologically so I thought that would be interesting. Anyway,
    that’s not really what I’m writing to tell you (just a little
    “backstory” like you said)– what I wanted to share is that I read
    a scripture for who-knows-the-how-manyith-time and if finally hit
    me. I LOVE the Nicole C Mullen Song “My Redeemer Lives”- gives me
    chills every time. What I hadn’t realized is that the scripture
    basis for it comes from Job 19:25 “For I know that my Redeemer and
    Vindicator lives…” Job? JOB?? Who would have thought such a
    beautiful Word could come from there. My hope is that will bring
    you some comfort on this day.

  8. Jennifer Jones Says:

    Well said. It is easy to be angry, but harder to find meaning and forgiveness.

  9. Brian Kenny Says:

    Jerel – as you process out loud, you are so right. This is a win-win, because you are teaching us. Your words also serve as an answer for the large number of those who continue to pray for you and your family.

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