Pleasing God, Making Disciples of Jesus Christ

Worship and Grief: A Compatible Couple

JOB 1:20-22-Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshipped. 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 all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong.”

So, we get up one morning. Life’s been fairly good. Sure some minor inconveniences here and there, but overall, smooth sailing. Our investments are doing okay. We have worked hard and God has prospered us. Our kids are grown and appear to be doing well. Yes, life is good as the slogan says. But then, mid-morning some of the people we employ to take care of our investments come one by one and tell us, “All gone. You have nothing left. Broke. Not a dime or acre of land to your name.” Well, after we recover from the initial jolt to our hearts and minds and because of our walks with the Lord, we sigh and say, “Well, it is just stuff. I cannot take it with me. Besides, what is most important to me is still with me–my family.” But then, another knock at the door. The person we greet is as white as a sheet. Traumatized. Can barely speak. Struggling with words, he sputters, “Your kids. They were all together. Your kids.” He stops. The sobbing takes away his breath. You grab him by the shoulders pleading, “What about my kids? Tell me.” Getting himself together, the messenger cries out, “A freak windstorm came down the road and it destroyed the house. They couldn’t get out. Your kids. They are dead. All ten of them.”

Okay, how do we respond? I am not making light of that question. It is real. It is life. It was Job’s life. I also know the question isn’t fair because we are not Job at the very moment all this news came to him. It would be fair to answer, “I don’t know how I would react. I hope in a manner that honors the Lord.” Well, what about Job? How did he respond? We are familiar with the story but it is always good to go back and ponder the familiar. We don’t know what a day will bring forth, but we know one thing–trials, disappointment, discouragement, grief, sorrow, and calamities are part of the journey called “life” in a sin-cursed world. It might not be as intense as Job’s loss but there will be pain and loss. And Job is the model for us in the proper way to respond to God’s mysterious sovereignty working out in our lives when it includes great pain and loss. But there is something else I want to encourage us with today.

Worship, as Job did, and grieving, as Job did, are not incompatible. They co-exist in the lives of God’s children. Remember this. Don’t feel guilty for grieving. Don’t think it is wrong to have deep sorrow over the loss of a loved one. There is a time to mourn, a time to grieve, and a time to cry (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8).But here is the key and what Job did. He does both with hope. He isn’t so deep in the pit of despair over what happened to him that he forgets his God and the hope in his God. It is very easy in times of great sorrow to be so focused on the loss and pain that our testimonies of the power of the Gospel is tarnished. Grieve, yes, but not without worship and the gospel hope that enables us to worship. Job did this and may God help us to do so likewise when the inevitable “bad news” comes into our lives.

PRAYER: “Father, help me understand my worship of You is not dependent on good feelings or circumstances.”
QUOTE: “If our worship of God relies upon environments, circumstances or emotions, it is not true Biblical worship.”

Because of Him,
Pastor Jim