My parents gave me the opportunity to attend a Christian boarding school for my last two years of high school. I enjoyed my classes and friends, but keenly anticipated newsy letters from my home 500 miles away.
It was April of my junior year when a letter arrived that was quite a shocker. My dad wrote how there had been a bad fire on the farm. The farmhouse was spared, but within an hour our barn, two sizeable chicken houses, and a newly constructed butcher shop were all destroyed! There was no insurance coverage.
The fire was a turning point for our family. There was no longer a dream for me and my older brother to eventually join Dad in the poultry and butchering business.
My brother got a job in town. I finished high school and went to college. My parents farmed five more seasons and retired to another state.
I shall always remember my father’s response to this sudden misfortune. As an expression of his solid Christian faith, he declared in the words of Job, “The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away, blessed be the name of the Lord.” (Job 1:21)
By his spiritually mature faith, Dad positively influenced my youthful faith journey.
Americans greeted 2020 with expectations of continued normality, stability, and progress in all sectors. The gifts of economic prosperity, social peace, and political civility would be ours.
But things quickly changed, mainly because of COVID-19. The gifts began to be taken away. Like Job, possessions diminished with job losses. Family members got ill, and some died. Social unrest and riots replaced peace. Political polarization was accentuated. For many, the outcome of the recent election was a gift, and for others, a disappointing loss.
How should you and I respond when God’s gifts are taken away? Incited by Satan, God allowed Job to lose all his wealth, children, and health. Amazingly, Job kept his integrity and faith and did not blame God, though he did question Him later. Only in Job 42 are his fortunes graciously restored.
Job’s positive response can help you and me cope with our losses.
First, like Job, we cannot deny or ignore the pain. It is real.
Second, though Job did not understand the reason for his afflictions, he accepted them as allowed by God’s sovereign plan.
When Job could not trace God’s good hand in his dire circumstances, he nonetheless trusted God’s heart of love and ultimate good for him. (Romans 8:28)
Third, after acknowledging that God had the right to give and to take away, Job rested his case and worshipped the name of the Lord. And so can we! “Blessed be the name of the Lord.”