Thursday, October 20, 2016

Blessed be the Name of the Lord!

"Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped. And he said, 'Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I shall return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.'" 
(Job 1:20-21 ESV)

I don't know about you, but I often struggle with the sovereignty of God. I wrestle with understanding suffering and pain and loss. Tragedy and grief seem so far outside the realm of what God could ever want for me.  What happened to the idea that following Christ would automatically make life better?

Earlier this month, I attended the memorial service for the son of my friend who died at age twenty-eight after a battle with brain cancer. As painful as this was, the service was filled with hope at the idea of a young man who lived with such passion and zeal, not only for the things of God but for every aspect of life itself.

I walked through a bitter and painful divorce, brought on by a long time of going through the motions and finished off by multiple instances of adultery. As I became aware of what was happening, I began to grieve not only for the destruction of a marriage but for what life would look like moving forward for myself and my two small children.

Our country is in a constant state of grief it seems between shootings and natural disasters and uncertain leadership. The basic morality that previously existed has morphed into more of an "every man for himself" mentality that leaves confusion and destruction in its wake.

So, what do we do with the grief? Where can my sadness be placed? How do I escape the pain that life so often throws my way? John 11:35 is one of the most profound Bible verses in my opinion. "Jesus wept." It's so simple and concise, yet it is filled with such great hope as I am able to realize that Jesus truly is the Man of sorrows who understands pain and loss and grief. I am not alone in my wrestling but rather have the ultimate Advocate on my side.

He never promises to remove grief or to insulate me from all loss. Rather, He knows and understands and sees me. He is with me in my grief, when confusion is swirling, and feelings of anger are overwhelming. He is in the midst of the storm, walking on the water and providing whatever I need in that moment.

Oh that the world would be without grief!!

How sweet would life be if I could live a little more like Job and be able to declare my worship of God in the midst of great grief! I don't think I need nearly as many answers if I can just remember that God is in charge and I am not - this must drive me to worship, not frustration.

I have no idea what the source or sources of your grief might be, but I have a hunch that you have experienced and maybe are currently experiencing this grief. At times, it is hard to get out of bed, to function, to even consider living life again. Yet, that is exactly what God calls us to. He whispers our names, sits in the mess and cries with us, and then picks us up and provides the strength needed to move forward.

May you never lose sight of Jesus, regardless of the depth of grief. May you always remember that God is for you and that even when you don't understand, you are able to declare with a loud voice that the name of the Lord is to be blessed!!

Dear Jesus, grief hurts. It wounds the soul and so often paralyzes. We live in a broken world filled with loss and confusion. Yet, You are in the midst and Your presence is never far from us. I pray that You would be the God of comfort and hope in every situation and that together we would worship you in and through the grief that we experience. Amen!

~ Mike

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