When David’s home church suffered the loss of 17-year-old Molly towards the end of 2020, his pastors called upon him to speak words of comfort and encouragement just a few days after the event. Many people in the church were deeply shocked, sad and had unanswered questions. May the resulting video be a blessing to you if you are experiencing the deep pain of loss.
When Job suffered the incredible loss of all of his children (7 sons and 3 daughters) in a moment, he did three things:
1. He openly expressed His emotions
Jesus did the same. When Lazarus (whom Jesus loved) died, we find one of the shortest verses in the Bible
John 11:35 – Jesus wept.
And He did it openly, in front of others. The next verse makes that clear.
John 11:36 – Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”
2. He recognised that everything he ever had came from God (including His children), and he was able to CONTINUE to praise God, even in the midst of incredibly difficult circumstances
Do you realise that this man held everything in his life so lightly that he could praise God in ANY and EVERY circumstance?
I wonder, how many of us would find ourselves saying “may the name of the Lord be praised” at a moment like that?
Vicky (Molly’s mum) did.
Does it make the pain any less real? Absolutely not! But even in the midst of the pain, Vicky refuses to put anything between herself and Him. Why? She knows Him far too well to do that.
She knows that His love is what she needs right now. His comfort is the only thing that can see her through. She knows that the only pain that would be too much to bear is to be apart from Him.
You see the danger (when tragedy strikes) or when things don’t go the way we expect or hope they will go, is that we blame God. And that’s exactly what the Bible says Job didn’t do:
Job 1:22 – In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.
3. He did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing
As soon as we put the blame on God, we immediately stop trusting Him 100% – our faith and confidence in Him is diminished.
But actually it’s in THAT MOMENT that we need Him more than ever.
Whenever something like this happens we always have unanswered questions, and it’s ok to say “we don’t understand”. Certain things we may never understand in this life.
But at the same time, as the people of God there are a lot more things that we DO UNDERSTAND:
We understand that GOD IS LOVE.
We understand that we live in a fallen world where sin and sickness and death are all around us and affect us every day.
We understand that God has given us free will. Sometimes we think “God, it would be so much better if you just MADE us do the things that are best for us and those around us all the time”. And that sounds like a good idea, until you realise that that would be CONTROL and love never controls. If God controlled us, it would mean He doesn’t love us. True love gives freedom. Of course, God WANTS us to love him, to love each other and to make the best choices but love would not be love if it was forced. So he gave us the choice. He gave us freedom.
We understand that the freedom God has given to the human race has consequences. Many people choose to use that freedom to hurt each other or themselves. As a result, we are all hurting in one way or another. Sometimes we can feel very low and can believe all kinds of lies that affect our thinking and our behaviour.
We understand that when Jesus came to the earth it was so painful for him to see and experience all these things that the Bible describes him as a man of sorrows, familiar with grief. It also says that he is not unable to sympathise with our weaknesses – for everything we go through He has also been through. He also knows what it feels like to lose a child. Therefore the Bible says he is close to the brokenhearted.
We understand that we have an enemy who prowls around seeking whom He can devour, but we also understand that he will NEVER have the victory.
We understand that because of Jesus’ death and resurrection, sin and death have been defeated, and for those who call on the name of Jesus and put their trust in Him, death has lost its sting.
We understand that when Jesus comes again, the last enemy will be destroyed which is death but that until then we will all face physical death.
And finally, we understand that although awful things happen in this life, God is not the one who causes them, but He IS the one who comforts us in the midst of them and can carry us through them.