May 21, 2023
I never will forget the feeling that overwhelmed our family in returning home to find our house had been burglarized. There was a feeling of disbelief at first as we went from room to room seeing things in total disarray as the intruders scattered whatever they didn’t want. What was most disheartening to my parents was the fact the robbers took all the Christmas presents they had purchased, and it was evident that it was that for which the thieves were looking, evident by the fact they did the exact thing to others in the neighborhood.
So what do you do when you suffer such loss? How do you respond? I am forever grateful for the example of godly parents who emphasized the blessing of not being home at the time for none of us were injured over the event. We also thanked God that although they stole our Christmas presents there were other things in the house they could have but did not take. In other words, the emphasis was not upon the loss but upon the fact whatever we have from God’s hand was more than we deserved and He will see us through this.
The man Job in the Bible gives us great insight in how to respond to loss. In the first chapter we see how God allowed Satan to try Job by taking away all his earthly wealth along with his children. How would you respond to that loss? Here’s how Job responded when he received the news of his loss:
Job 1:20–21 (ESV) — 20 Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped. 21 And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”
In the second chapter of Job we find the record of Job being tried by Satan again and this time it’s Job’s health. God allowed Satan to cause Job to be covered with boils from the top of his head to the soles of his feet. Needless to say, he was in great pain over the loss of his health and only found relief by scraping himself with broken pottery. What a scene – but notice how he responds to his wife’s reaction:
Job 2:9–10 (ESV) — 9 Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die.” 10 But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips.
Have you ever taken a step back and considered how you respond to loss in life? There’s a general pattern that happens because we all suffer loss in one way or another – both big and small losses. As you look at your responses, do they tend to follow that of Job? – finding a way to praise God in the midst, trusting in Him as we believe He is in control and He will do what is best; or do you tend to follow that of Job’s wife? – ready to curse God for allowing things like this to happen in your life.
Joseph was another person in the Bible who suffered great loss. His brothers sold him into slavery, he is falsely accused and sent to prison, and his request to be remembered and his case given consideration was just overlooked for many years. As it turned out, Joseph was remembered before Pharoah and it was God’s plan to use Joseph to bring relief from famine to Egypt and the known world at the time, including Joseph’s brothers. Once it had all come to light and he was reunited with his family, the brothers were concerned about their welfare before the second in command to the known leader of the world. Joseph recognized his loss, although carried out by the meanness of his brothers was really God’s way of getting him into the right place at the right time to bring about good.
Genesis 50:20 (ESV) — 20 As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.
If we could just get that point from these accounts not as just head knowledge as in knowing the facts that are presented, but in knowing the truth about God and His plan for us, we’d do better when we suffer loss and respond in faith rather than doubt, discouragement, or even bitterness.
Amos 3:7 (ESV) — 7 “For the Lord God does nothing without revealing his secret to his servants the prophets.
Psalm 25:14 (KJV) — 14 The secret of the Lord is with them that fear him; And he will show them his covenant.
God has not left us in the dark about times we suffer loss. It’s not like He is waiting for us to find enjoyment in life so he can let us have it. No. God’s plan for us is in keeping with His revealed will. Notice what that means:
1 Peter 1:6 (ESV) — 6 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials,
Romans 8:28–31 (ESV) — 28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. 31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
If the loss were not necessary for our spiritual growth and maturity, it wouldn’t be part of our lives, despite the fact that it causes great grief for the moment. We rest assured that God has a plan and is carrying out the plan for each one of us so despite the loss, God is bringing good in our lives as He conforms our character to be like the Lord Jesus Christ. So as the concluding words from the passage from Romans chapter eight says, “If God is for us, who can be against us?”
Responding to loss is a great opportunity to exercise faith. Anybody can rejoice and praise God when things are going well, but it takes digging deep in our convictions as we seek for His grace to see us through times of loss. My family found this to be true when we were robbed when I was a child and graciously God provided all we needed as we enjoyed a great Christmas together.
Bob Brubaker, Pastor