At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said:
“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.”
In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing. – Job 1:20-22 (NIV)
Loss is a part of life, but for some the loss is greater. I have never had a Job moment. The losses I have experienced were painful, but the extreme nature of Job’s misery has never visited my doorstep. However, I cannot live with the misguided notion that misery will never darken my door. There may come a time where grief could overwhelm me and pain makes its home in my heart. I hope not, but that day may come. Am I prepared for loss? Am I ready for the pain?
The true but uncomfortable answer to both those reasons is no. It is not as if I can manufacture loss and pain to practice, nor do I want to. I can read of other’s experiences, but they are different personalities with different strengths and weaknesses. What is to come is unknown to everyone except God and therein lays the hope for us. God knows. He knows what we will face, what we will need to face it and what will bring us through.
This is somewhat of a relief and a challenge. It is a relief because we do not have to spend our lives preparing for our best guess of what might happen. We do not have to live with the anxiety that question marks induce. As a father, this is a great comfort, but also a challenge. We must work diligently to be in step with God. We have the advantage of the Holy Spirit that was not available to Job. Through Him we have everything we need, but that does not mean we utilize all that has been given. The challenge is to pursue a walk with God that leads through every step of every circumstance as He desires.
I don’t know if I will ever have a Job-like experience, but I am beginning to not worry about it. I am more and more becoming concerned with God shaping me into the husband and father I need to be to face the challenges that lie ahead.
Lord, help me to be the man You desire me to be and the husband and father I need to be for my family. Help me refuse the anxiety and worry that so easily plague my mind and heart. Give me a faith that is strengthened every day by Your presence in my life. Amen.
4 thoughts on “The Challenge of Pain”
I don’t think anyone is ever prepared for deep pain or loss. You just have to face it when it comes.
I think there is a big difference between trying to prepare ourselves and allowing God to prepare us. This isn’t to say we won’t experience pain, but I believe God can equip us to handle it in a way that glorifies Him and heals us.
I agree…even if we know a loss is approaching (for example, the impending death of a dearly loved one), we do not have the resources – in and of ourselves – to prepare adequately for the reality of the loss. There are many things we will never know on this side of the veil.
“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” – That is a great promise for those who are making the journey toward heaven.