The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised. – Job 1:21
14 A messenger arrived at Job’s home with this news: “Your oxen were plowing, with the donkeys feeding beside them,
15 when the Sabeans raided us. They stole all the animals and killed all the farmhands. I am the only one who escaped to tell you.”
16 While he was still speaking, another messenger arrived with this news: “The fire of God has fallen from heaven and burned up your sheep and all the shepherds. I am the only one who escaped to tell you.”
17 While he was still speaking, a third messenger arrived with this news: “Three bands of Chaldean raiders have stolen your camels and killed your servants. I am the only one who escaped to tell you.”
18 While he was still speaking, another messenger arrived with this news: “Your sons and daughters were feasting in their oldest brother’s home.
19 Suddenly, a powerful wind swept in from the wilderness and hit the house on all sides. The house collapsed, and all your children are dead. I am the only one who escaped to tell you.”
20 Job stood up and tore his robe in grief. Then he shaved his head and fell to the ground to worship.
21 He said, “I came naked from my mother’s womb, and I will be naked when I leave. The LORD gave me what I had, and the LORD has taken it away. Praise the name of the LORD!”
22 In all of this, Job did not sin by blaming God.
When hard things happen, it is not natural or normal to give thanks. How can we develop a habit of gratefulness in grievous times of loss? One Thousand Gifts, written by Ann Voskamp, implores children of the King to reflect upon each day to recall to mind what the Father has done for them. The Father is good and generous in His gifts both large and small. We have only to find them and thank the Father for them. Voskamp maintains that gratitude is the key to seeing God in even the most troubling of life’s moments.
Job’s life was filled with troubling moments. Loss, grief, physical suffering and pain, poor advice, accusations, and self-doubt. Job 1 opens with successive announcements of immense losses. Job lost pretty most all of his material things along with beloved and valued family members. Indeed, his heart-wrenching losses were deep and many.
But rather than focus on the negative, he chooses to express gratitude and thankfulness. Gratitude and thankfulness are always a choice for children of the King.
Job’s reaction provides a model for all children of the King. He feels the loss and grieves. But then he does the unexpected. He praises and acknowledges the Father as the giver of all good things. He expresses gratitude. The “unexpected” was his norm. He had developed the habit of being truly grateful to the Father in all things, both good and bad. He recognizes that the Father had given him everything he lost (Job 1:21).
The practice of daily gratitude does not erase the magnitude of pain and grief people feel in seasons of loss. Job questioned and grappled through his grief as the rest of the book describes. But recognizing the Father’s goodness to us, in even the smallest of ways, – prepares each child of the King to worship before our all wise and all-powerful Father in the darkest hours of our earthly lives (Kirsten Holmberg).
REFLECT & PRAY
Many of us are quite good at making lists. Have you ever considered making a list of things to be grateful for? Using our ever-growing gratitude list, we can make expressing gratitude to the Father and everyday event. Practicing thankfulness is transformational. Gratitude will change your attitude.
Father You are the Giver of all good things. They come down to us from You. Help me to recognize Your generosity in even the smallest ways and to trust You in seasons of loss and hardship.
Why? Why? Why?
We do not always know why. When Job suffered, he had no idea what was going on. Sometimes stating the obvious is worthwhile. The book of Job had not yet been written when he was living through the events recorded in it. He had not read it. He lacked the perspective that we have. We now know why such sorrow came into his life and more importantly, how the book ends. “The primary purpose of Job’s suffering, unknown to him, was that he should stand before men and angels as a trophy of the saving might of God . . .” (Klein).
When tragedy strikes, children of the King hurt just as much as anyone else. They grieve, but not “as others who have no hope” (1 Thessalonians 4:13). We can worship, even in tragedy, because nothing can separate us from the Father and His love” (Stanley).
Job’s troubles are described as coming from multiple directions. The narrative presents each of the tragedies in rapid succession, giving the reader a feeling described well by Job’s later words, “He will not let me catch my breath, but fills me instead with bitter sorrows” (Job 9:18). Job suffers the near-complete destruction of what mattered most in life to him. Yet Job has great confidence. Distraught with grief at the calamities that have decimated his family and possessions, Job turns to the Father in lament-laden worship.
In the wake of his loss, Job embodies both grief (Job … tore his robe and shaved his head) and trust in the Father (and fell on the ground and worshiped). Job cries out from a posture of grief and worship, “The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away. Blessed be the name of the LORD.” He exemplifies all who walk by faith and not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7) (ESV Notes).
Gratitude is the key to seeing the Father even in life’s most troubling moments. Gratitude draws each child of the King close to Him.