The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised. Job 1:21
After my mom died, one of her fellow cancer patients approached me. “Your mom was so kind to me,” she said, sobbing. “I’m sorry she died . . . instead of me.”
“My mom loved you,” I said. “We prayed God would let you see your boys grow up.” Holding her hands, I wept with her and asked God to help her grieve peacefully. I also thanked Him for her remission that allowed her to continue loving her husband and two growing children.
The Bible reveals the complexity of grief when Job lost almost everything, including all his children. Job grieved and “fell to the ground in worship” (Job 1:20). With a heartbreaking and hopeful act of surrender and expression of gratitude, he declared, “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised” (v. 21). While Job would struggle mightily later through his grieving and God’s rebuilding of his life, in this moment he accepted and even rejoiced in His authority over the good and bad situations.
God understands the many ways we process and struggle with emotions. He invites us to grieve with honesty and vulnerability. Even when sorrow seems endless and unbearable, God affirms that He hasn’t and won’t change. With this promise, He comforts us and empowers us to be grateful for His presence.
When have you experienced gratitude toward God while grieving a great loss? How has He revealed His presence when you felt alone or misunderstood in your grief?
Compassionate God, thank You for knowing me and carrying me through every step of my grieving process.
Shakespeare wrote in Hamlet, “When sorrowws come, they come not single spies but in battalions.” Job would certainly have understood. Perhaps any of those trials by themselves would have been devastating, but he experienced multiple trials at once as pictured in the phrase, “while he was still speaking, another messenger came and said” (vv. 16–18). Before even having time to process one tragedy, the next was upon him. The trials described in these events picture life in a broken world.