by Andy Clapp
I remember the heaviness. Though two years have passed, my mind recalls the feeling of that day. We prayed. We begged. Heaven’s doors took a pounding as we gathered together and called out. But the moment came. We said our final goodbyes to my cousin’s thirteen-year-old son, with sobbing and brokenness hanging in the air. Doctors provided no explanation, even as experts looked at his charts across the United States. He passed away that October night and we tried to pick up the pieces to what we could not understand or explain.
Why did it happen? How could this little boy, so full of life, now lay lifeless without any explanation? All the questions stirred a storm that, mixed with emotion, made the night seem never-ending.
Today, we continue to feel the effects of that life storm. We miss him. A tree planted at the church reminds us of him, the beauty of the blooms a reflection of the beautiful life he lived. And, though we fail to understand everything, we know that God has a reason.
All of us will face loss in this life. Though we try to avoid thinking about such a reality, each person endures a storm of pain after the loss of a loved one. How do we deal with that pain? Where do we turn when we have a swirling storm of questions but no answers? Job helps us as we navigate through the storm of loss and the aftermath of the destruction.
Job struggled to catch his breath as wave after wave of bad news flooded him. The Sabeans stole the ox and the donkeys and killed all but one of the servants tending the flocks. A lightning storm struck the sheep and servants, leaving only one to report the happenings. The Chaldeans raided the camels and killed all the servants but one. Before one bad report processed in Job’s mind, another came. Then, the worst of the storm struck. A windstorm took the lives of his children.
In a succession of moments, a righteous man lost his children and his wealth. A life put together became a life torn apart due to loss. But in that moment, Job revealed the righteous heart pained with the grief of loss in his response. He tore his robe, shaved his head, and he worshipped.
From that response, we learn about dealing with the life-threatening storms. Here are a few things to note:
1. It is ok to show grief and pain—Job tore his robe and shaved his head. The pain of the moment led to a very real pain and rather than hide the pain, he let it out. Too often, we bottle up the pain when in all reality, we need to let it out. Being authentic in a time of loss benefits us and those around us. For ourselves, showing the grief is an outlet. Just as Jesus wept outside the tomb of Lazarus, we feel the sting of loss and weep. It also benefits those around us to know that we are struggling. When they see our struggle, they see they are needed to help us in those moments.
2. Turn toward God rather than away from God—Job 1:20 says, “He fell to the ground and worshipped.” Job had every reason to let anger intervene. A man called righteous in the Bible losing everything appears unfair and unjust. Rather than allow anger to run, he ran. He ran to the One who understood pain on an even greater level than did Job. He turned toward the Lord when the storm left devastation because only the Lord held the power to restore what was lost.
3. Praise Him, even in our hurt—Job said, “The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away. Praise the name of Yahweh.” (Job 1:21 HCSB) Even though the storm took what seemed to be everything away from Job, nothing separated Job from the Lord. When we face the storm of loss, we praise the Lord for what remains and for the provision of the Lord in the storm and after the storm. We praise Him for the time we had with the ones we love. We praise Him for the memories that survive the storm, the very ones etched in our hearts and minds never to be forgotten.
Loss devastates us, especially when we were unprepared for such a moment to come. But what we see in Job is a God who is faithful and a way to navigate through the storm’s aftermath. We may feel like we’ve lost it all at times, but the Lord remains faithful. He picks up the pieces and reminds us of the hope that we have in Jesus.
Andy Clapp is an award-winning author and pastor. His book, “In the Eye of the Storm: Withstanding the Fury of Life’s Storms” releases July 26, 2022 (End Game Press). Andy is also a literary agent with C.Y.L.E., a husband to Crystal, and has three beautiful children (Cheyenne, Autumn, and Brady).