Those were the words of our next door neighbor one day as my husband stood at the fence talking with him. I am going to be pretty honest in saying that I have definately thought the same thing sometimes! There is not ever a time when reading the book of Job, that I have not been astounded in one way or the other-whether it be weeping for sorrow and grief or angry for what Satan was allowed to do to this man! But the most overcoming emotion I have for this piece of scripture is awe for how Job continued to praise the Lord! He still got that we deserve nothing and God deserves everything from us. Would I be that faithful in the face of utter despair and loss, or would I turn my face from God and curse Him for my exsistence!
The Lord is at work and He has been putting pieces together in my mind. And I want to share some of what He has done and is doing that very much reminds me of Job. Last year Matt and I had a chance to go to the Desiring God conference that John Piper has been doing for awhile now. It is the second time we have gone and it has been an amazing blessing and encouragement to us. This year during one of the breaks we browsed around the book shop and found an amazing book by John Piper, telling Job's story through poetry and art. We snatched a copy up and took it to dinner with us that evening. As we sat in the resturaunt, I read it aloud to matt and could barely see the words through my tears. Two things came to my mind while we read this.....Ralph, our neighbor-and the story of my parents.
The first thing we did was to go buy a second copy for Ralph, who we are praying comes to know Jesus. We gave the book to Him for Christmas, hoping to help him understand God's purpose for telling us of Job.
The second thought, is one much deeper and personal to me that I am hoping to begin sharing. Although it will take some time, and I am not sure how to even pull it all together. Let's just say it will be a work in progress.
I was born into a family where my parents knew Jesus and loved Him very much. I was raised with the truth and took it as my own. I grew up knowing Jesus loved us, created us and ultimately saved us from our sin. I also grew up in a family that faced utter tragedy many times over! And that is the part that is amazing-I had a mom and dad that showed Jesus's love to me despite the incredible heart aches they faced. My parents could have easily choosen to turn from the Lord and convince themselves that He was removed from their lives and didn't hear them. But the Lord has used their faithfulness to draw me to Himself.
If any of you have heard Natalie Grant's song "Held" it is the perfect description of what my parents experienced when I was just 1 1/2 years old. One morning after my Dad had left for work, my Mom got up surprised that my new baby brother had not woken up to eat yet. Jason was a rolly polly chunk of 11 pounds at birth!!! When my mom checked on Jason, she found that he had died in his sleep. Since I was only 18 months old I do not have much of a memory of the experience, but my mom has shared over the past 10 years pieces of this day. From what she has shared, it was their neighbor, Rose, that called 911 from hearing the screams of my mom. The one memory I do have is the picture in my mind of the police officers coming in. I think that has stuck because my Mom said that Jesus took Jason to be with Him, and I wanted to know if the police officers were Jesus. Jason was 2 1/2 months old when he went to be with Jesus, and some day I will see him, but even more important is that my mom and dad will see Him! It is pretty difficult to understand why these things happen. It is difficult to think of my mom sitting in her nightgown alone in the back of a cold paddywagon on the way to the hospital, pleading with Jesus that Jason would just wake up,just be alright, or think of my Dad falling into my Grandpas arms and crying Daddy when they met in the hospital right after Jason's death. I do not think there could be a deeper agony or pain than the loss of a child. How do you begin to even breathe let alone get out of bed in the morning. I know that losing Jason changed my mom and dad forever, they will tell you that. My mom has said she is not the same person she was before that, and wonders sometimes what she would be like, had Jason not died. And even though they were hurt and didn;t understand the Lord's plan, they continued to follow Him and believed that he loves us.
That loss would not be their last though. After my sister Nicole was born,who was a sweet balm to my parents, Mom endured many miscarriages and one of the babies, who was a boy, died at five months along. Mom had to deliver Paul in the hospital among all the new moms and babies. They buried another son.
My baby sister, Molly, Is a miracle baby. I was in third grade, Nik and I were home from school for some holiday when my Mom recieved a call from her brother, who my Dad worked for. her screams were chilling and Nicole and I were wide eyed. My dad had been in an explosion at his work site. Dad was in construction and He and his partner Joel were working on a town home. There was a propain tank in the house that was leaking. They were told to carry it outside. As they walked back into the house, the entire place exploded. There are some amazing things I beleive the Lord was a part of. When the roof came down on them, each of them were under a skylight! It was also winter time which meant snow to cool the horrific burns my Dad sustianed until the ambulance arrived. My Dad's burns were over his face and head, hands and back. When my Mom arrived to the hospital and they told her were he was, she came back the the nurse and said there was a mistake, and that that man was not her husband. Dad's burns were so bad, she could not recognize him. May dad went through months of very painful recovery and skin graphs. I remember him coming to my softball games completely covered and with an umbrella on sunny days because he could not be in the sun at all. All the while, Mom was carrying Molly safe in her womb. Do you think God has plans for Molly!?
My parents have now been facing the struggle of unemployment off and on for 5 years. It is a very scary situation that they face everyday. They have to make decisions of what to let go of, will they be able to keep their house, will the bills get paid next month. So much being out of their hands. So many details being unknown to them. But they continue to worship, continue to trust and continue to talk to the Lord.
My parents have modeled so consistantley throughout my life their reverence for the Lord that it now seems quite foreign to me to ever want to go through anything without Him! They have been testiments of God's grace and healing, His love, forgiveness, and His faithfulness. Mom and Dad do not always know why and they may not ever in many things, but they know they can trust Him. Despite the hard, I have witnessed the miracles that have come with them. He has worked good for His plan. It has given me an excitement for the future and it has also taught me that the here and now is so very temporary compared to the eternity he saved us for to spend with Him!!! I am beginning to see that the story of Job is a reminder of who God is no matter what the circumstance is. He is the author of everything!
This is a quote from the book written by John Piper on the life of Job.
"Why do bad things happen to good people?"
"Afflicted with disease, stripped of his wealth, and asked to confess to evil provocations, righteous Job reaches through his cloud of suffering and strains to touch God.
We have heard Job's story. Yet as we ponder Job's misery, do we see the threads of God's mercy in it? We will all face suffereing at some point in our lives, it is inescapeable,. But what makes calamity endurable is not that God shares our shock, but that through every flame of pain and flood of fear, His soveriegn goodness sustians us and turns it all for our good."
What a friend we have in Jesus!!!!