March 8, 2022
Life After Loss
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"And the LORD blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning. And he had 14,000 sheep, 6,000 camels, 1,000 yoke of oxen, and 1,000 female donkeys." Job 42:12 (ESV)
When I reminded him this was the last time I'd see him, he laughingly responded, "Good. Let's keep it that way."
Normally goodbyes aren't so cheerful, but after months of painful physical therapy, I was excited to finally be on the road to complete recovery even if that meant saying farewell to my amazing therapist.
Several weeks earlier, a slipped disc in my cervical spine ushered in months of emergency room visits, canceled plans, and pain management. The journey to healing was excruciating and filled with many tears; however, as my body recovered, I soon realized there was another healing I would need.
The physical pain my body endured began to slowly feed a fear that it would happen again. As I recuperated, I wondered if a trip to the grocery store would lead to a hospital visit or if taking the laundry out of the dryer would warrant a doctor's call. I was afraid to live my life again.
The fragility of my physical body wore heavily on my soul as I learned that many times it's the emotional and mental healing that takes the longest. As I shared my anxiety with my husband, he reminded me about Job, who went through more pain than any of us would like to imagine. Even still, God blessed the latter parts of Job’s life "more than his beginning" (Job 42:12).
Job is often remembered for the severe and heartbreaking tragedy he endured. The losses of his children, wealth and health are all recorded within the first few chapters of the book of Job. Much of the book documents him navigating loss, disappointment and despair. It's not until the final chapter that we learn of his restoration:
"And the LORD blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning. And he had 14,000 sheep, 6,000 camels, 1,000 yoke of oxen, and 1,000 female donkeys" (Job 42:12).
I've often read the conclusion of Job's testimony like an immediate, fairy-tale ending. As I reflected again on his story, I realized God did not bring back what Job lost, but He blessed the life Job had left. God's blessing did not happen overnight but was a process that would take Job's involvement.
When Job saw his sores close up and heal, he chose to get up from his sickbed. When he realized his sorrow was not the end, he chose to eat again. When he discovered the goodness of God even in tragedy, he decided to keep living so God would have a life to bless.
As I healed from my injury, I, too, slowly got back to life: cheering at my kid's basketball practices, taking evening walks and planning birthday parties. Job's life taught me the challenges we face are not the end of our story. We don't often choose the storms that knock us down, but we do get to choose if we'll get back up.
After any storm, there is time spent assessing the damage. Time to realize what was lost and what remains. I don't know what you may have lost due to the unexpected storms of life: a loved one, a cherished relationship or the comfort of what used to be. What I do know is that, if you're reading this, you still have life for God to bless. That life may be different, but with God, it can still be good.
Job teaches us not to allow our fear of getting knocked down to overtake our faith to keep getting back up. There is life on the other side of loss, and God is able to bless it.
Dear heavenly Father, thank You for being with me through every storm I face. As I navigate life after loss, I pray that Your love restores my hope and that Your strength empowers me to keep living. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
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FOR DEEPER STUDY
Romans 8:18, "For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us." (ESV)
We may experience loss on this side of eternity, but we don't ever have to lose hope. How can having an eternal perspective help you stay encouraged when navigating life after loss?
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