Recently, I was floored by the accidental death of a child at my son’s preschool. There was no negligence, no foul play. This child was sent to the school that morning by a mom and dad who would not get to talk to their baby again. All of their hopes and dreams for that child–all of the memories they planned to make were gone. Where is God in this kind of loss?
In an instant Job lost all of his children, 7 sons and 3 daughters. He lost all his possessions and even his health, but to lose all of his children in an instant…this man was crushed. And yet he says, “The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21). He worships God in his grieving, and it’s said of him that throughout all this, Job did not sin or blame God for anything (1:22). Throughout the rest of the book, we see that Job had some serious questions for God. He wrestled in his mind and with his friends to understand why all of this had happened.
And then God shows up.
He shows Job a glimpse of his power, purposes, and personality, and Job is blown away. He says, “I had heard reports about you, but now my eyes have seen you” (42:5). Seeing God gives Job context for his pain and loss. He gets a glimpse of an infinitely caring, infinitely powerful, infinitely wise God. Job’s loss is then used by God as a means of grace towards Job’s friends, his family, and eventually us. God has used the life of Job to comfort countless people.
Thinking about the loss of a child, I was comforted by the end of Job — 42:10 and following. Verse 10 says that God restored Job and doubled everything that he had before. But then we run into a math problem. God doubled everything, but it says that Job had 7 sons and 3 daughters–the same number he had before…
God is helping us to see with eternal eyes here.
Job’s children were not lost to him forever. They were only separated from each other for a little while. Job lived 140 years after this. And on the day that he died, he came face to face with the God he had only seen a glimpse of before. At that moment, he met the one who perfectly understood his grief and loss–but then it was removed forever to make way for eternal joy. And then, he ran to the arms of the 10 children that he had been away from for so long.