“The Lord gave me what I had, and the Lord has taken it away. Praise the name of the Lord!” (Job 1:21b NLT)
In some ways, life is like driving a car. I may have trained for years and believe I have full knowledge and confidence that my vehicle is under my complete control, and on many levels, it may well be and should be. But think of all the variables over which I have little or no control – i.e. other drivers. But what if they, or I, get distracted, have a mechanical malfunction or a physical trauma that suddenly robs me of “my” control, resulting in a collision.
Grief is the arduous journey of dealing with life’s “collisions” (the reality of our inability to prevent death, disease, and many other forms of loss). Often the process begins with the “If onlys.” If only I’d been there. If only I’d known. If only I had or hadn’t _______________, and you can fill in the blank. But this path usually leads to the understanding that it wouldn’t have mattered, it was likely out of our control anyway.
Grief is our heartbreaking effort to deal with our own inadequacies when it comes to healing ourselves, and half the battle is our willingness to recognize and admit we need help to get through it. I readily confess I continue to struggle with loss in my life, but by God’s grace and with His help I’m learning to let Him, and others walk with me on my healing journey.
Learning to live with open hands is a lesson the Lord taught me through grief. In Job 1:21b, after experiencing the loss of his possessions, family and later even his health, Job said: “The Lord gave me what I had, and the Lord has taken it away. Praise the name of the Lord!” (NLT).
Theologically we may wrestle with the implications of Job’s words, but the truth is, God is in control and we are not. The people and pets we love will get sick and die. Careers/jobs, opportunities, relationships, hopes, dreams, health and yes, life on earth, will ebb and flow, come and one day go.
Holding this fragile existence with open hands means to me that I recognize God gives and God takes away. Does that imply God causes all the catastrophes of life on earth? Of course not, but since the Fall of man the perfect life that was enjoyed in the Garden of Eden has been lost, and not until the return of Jesus will it be restored. In the meantime, while I don’t have to like or enjoy the losses I have to endure, they are a fact of life.
Tomorrow we’ll look at a couple of lessons the Lord has taught me that have helped.
Blessings, Ed 😊