For some Christmas is a happy time. This is also the time of year when there’s more depression and suicide. People that have losses have grief. Losses that cause grief come from the death of a loved one, family problems, lost job, lost health, lost hope for the future, and many other things. Job lost everything: his children, cattle, sheep, and his way of earning a living.
Job 1:20-21 Then Job…rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down…and worshipped, And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and…hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.
Job only had his wife. He was probably still in the first stage of grief, denial. He was perfect, feared God, and avoided evil. The devil said Job had a hedge around him. He said if God touched what he had, Job would curse God. God let Job be tested.
Job 1:11 But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face.
Job’s next test was to have painful boils all over his body. He was in such pain that he took a piece of broken pottery to scrape the boils. Job was miserable. Job’s wife was in grief too. She was angry and in the second stage of grief. We need to be careful to not judge people if they show anger or other feelings of grief. Bargaining comes with anger. People say “if I only had” done such and so. God lets us suffer loss and grief so we have compassion to help others who grieve.
Job 2:9-10 Then said his wife…Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die. But he said…Thou speakest as… foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and…not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin…
Depression comes with grief and is a feeling of hopelessness. Job lost his hope but still had faith. Faith is believing what God said is true. Hope is a feeling that something good is going to happen.
Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
Job said his days were without hope. He had trouble sleeping. People going through grief have trouble sleeping.
Job 7:4-6…I lie down, I say, When shall I arise, and the night be gone? and I am full of tossings to and fro…My flesh is clothed with worms and clods of dust; my skin is broken…My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle…without hope.
Feelings of grief include: agitation, anger, anxiety, emptiness, fear, impatience, loneliness, sadness, trouble making decisions, trouble concentrating, feeling responsible, nightmares, thinking you’re different that everyone else.
Job never gave up his trust in God. Job said he would still trust him if God slayed him.
Job 13:15 Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him.
How much hope would you have if you lost everything and had painful boils all over your body? Job’s hope wasn’t in temporal things but he trusted God would help him. Job felt he was having a hard time finding God. Bitterness is a feeling of grief Job felt. We have to ask God for grace so bitterness is only a feeling but that it doesn’t get into our heart.
Job 23:1-12…to day is my complaint bitter: my stroke is heavier than my groaning. Oh that I knew where I might find him! …would…fill my mouth with arguments. I would know the words which he would answer me, and understand…Will he plead against me with his great power? No; but he would put strength in me…I go forward, but he is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive him: On the left hand, where he doth work…he hideth himself on the right hand, that I cannot see him: But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold. My foot hath held his steps, his way… Neither have I gone back from the commandment…esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.
Job was confident and had faith God would give him strength and help, even if he felt he couldn’t see God any place. In grief our feelings may be contrary to what God’s word teaches. Faith helps us do what God says no matter how we feel. There was an event during Desert Storm as Colonel Jeff Patton flew his F-15. His group was going to bomb a chemical weapons plant in northern Iraq. They were flying in total darkness and had to solely trust their instruments to survive. When his jet was detected by the enemy, he did a maneuver to break the radar lock and became disoriented.
“His mind was telling him his plane was in a climbing right turn, but when he checked his instruments, they indicated he was in a 60 degree dive towards the ground! He was sure he was in a climb instead of a dive, and his mind was screaming at him to lower the nose of his F-15 to halt the climb. While his mind commanded him to correct the plane in one direction, his instruments instructed him to do just the opposite. Because he was flying in total darkness, he had to decide quickly whether to trust his mind or his instruments. His life depended on making the correct choice.
Even though it took everything within him to overcome what his mind was telling him, he decided to trust his instruments. He rolled his wings level and pulled his F-15 upward, which drew seven times the force of gravity, pulling the aircraft out of its dive. It only took a few moments to realize he had made the right decision. If he had lowered the nose of his jet like his mind had been telling him, he would have crashed the plane. Trusting his instruments saved his life!
Immediately he looked at his altimeter, which told him the elevation of his aircraft. He had narrowly escaped colliding into the mountains of Iraq by just 2,000 feet. Although he had made the correct decision by trusting his instruments, he realized if he had delayed just three more seconds his plane would have crashed into the mountains. Even right decisions can be wrong ones if they are made too late.” (Kent Crockett, The 911 Handbook, Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 2003, 17-18)
The Bible is our instrument. We have to follow the word to be saved and we have to trust the word to stay saved.
Matthew 1:21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins.
Jesus came to save us from sin, not to leave us there. God delivers us from sin and makes us holy (without sin).
I Peter 1:14-15 As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;
Job’s friends accused him and used God’s word to try to shame him. Job said his hope was removed.
Job 19:1-4 Then Job…said, How long will ye vex my soul, and break me in pieces with words? These ten times have ye reproached me: ye are not ashamed…And be it indeed that I have erred, mine error remaineth with myself.
Job 19:10 He hath destroyed me on every side, and I am gone: and mine hope hath he removed like a tree.
His wife, loved ones, friends, and servants turned against Job, but he knew God was alive and he’d see God when he died.
Job 19:13-19 He hath put my brethren far from me, and mine acquaintance are verily estranged from me. My kinsfolk …and my familiar friends have forgotten me. They that dwell in mine house, and my maids, count me for a stranger: I am an alien in their sight. I called my servant, and he gave me no answer; I intreated him with my mouth. My breath is strange to my wife…All my inward friends abhorred me: and they whom I loved are turned against me.
Job 19:25-26 For I know that my redeemer liveth…after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God:
You can go through stages of grief in any order and repeat them multiple times. Job’s friends accused him of sin.
Job 34:34-37…Job hath spoken without knowledge…words were without wisdom. My desire is that Job may be tried unto the end because of his answers…For he addeth rebellion unto his sin…and multiplieth his words against God.
God pronounced judgment against Job’s friends for finding fault, then he turned Job’s captivity when he prayed for them. Job held onto the word and God eventually gave Job twice as much as he had before his trouble.
Job 42:7-10 And it was so…Lord said to Eliphaz the Temanite, My wrath is kindled against thee, and against thy two friends: for ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job hath. Therefore take unto you…and go to my servant Job, and offer…a burnt offering; and my servant Job shall pray for you: for him will I accept: lest I deal with you after your folly, in that ye have not spoken of me the thing which is right, like my servant Job. So Eliphaz…Bildad …and Zophar…did according as the Lord commanded them: the Lord also accepted Job. And the Lord turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before.
(Notes from the Mature Class Bible Study, teacher Edith Tolbert)