A week ago last Thursday, my wife and I found out we were expecting our third child. We were both stunned as our youngest is just three months and were a bit overwhelmed by the thought of such a quick “turn-a-round.” However, after the shock wore off, we both grew in our excitement over the thought of a new baby on the way. We told our parents and friends and many in our church family. We scheduled our first doctor’s appointment and began talking with both of our girls about their new sibling.
A week after finding out we were expecting, we sat in the doctor’s office watching the ultrasound screen and tried to take in the what we were seeing. On the screen there was what looked like our child’s tiny little body, but there was no heartbeat and no movement. The doctor silently and intently stared at the monitor. Amy and I did the same. Our delight was turning to concern and, after a gracious explanation from the doctor, it turned to mourning. Although our child’s little body remained, its life was gone and so were our expectations.
Emotions have come like waves. At one moment, I feel nothing- ready to move on. The next I’m so overcome, I feel like sobs are going to explode out of me. Telling Rylie (our 3 year old) and watching the waves continue to crash upon my wife have all been moments of piercing rawness- moments that expose vulnerability and frailness in me I’d rather not discover. My heart hurts for my family and for thoughts of what would have been.
And through all of this, this last week of extreme emotional highs and lows, I have been walking through life with Job. His book has been the planned reading for this last week, as I do a year-long trek through the Bible.
And it pains my heart at what I see.
Job, a man whose personal righteousness stands far above my own, had lost his grip on the character of his God. His overwhelming struggles brought him to make statements like:
“When disaster brings sudden death, He mocks the calamity of the innocent.”
“If I sin, you watch me and do not acquit me of my iniquities.”
“Why did you bring me out from the womb?… Are not my days few? Then cease, and leave me alone, that I may find a little cheer.”
“Why do you hide your face and count me as your enemy?”
“Since [man’s] days are determined… and you have appointed his limits that he cannot pass, look away from him and leave him alone, that he may enjoy, like a hired hand, his day.”
“Oh that you would hide me in Sheol, that you would conceal me until your wrath be past.”
“you destroy the hope of man.”
But are those things true of God? Is God to be seen as a sadistic despot who rejoices in robbing us of hope and delight? Is He simply an angry judge waiting for us to slip up so He can slam us for our sin? Would it be better for us if God just left us alone so we could enjoy life? Is Job really experiencing the wrath of God?
And here is where I grieve for Job. In all of his suffering, Job had lost sight of the love and goodness of God. His view of God became perverted and he was failing to interpret his suffering in light of the goodness and grace and wisdom of His Creator. It is truly a sad state to behold, and because this happened to a man as righteous as Job, I know it can happen to a weak man like me too.
So, today, in our painful moment, I’m praying that God keeps our eyes fixed on the Cross. When I look at Calvary, I KNOW God’s attitude and heart towards me.
I know I am His own and He gave up His life for me. I know that, because of the Cross, whatever comes from His hand is for my good and an act of love. It is never a release of His wrath because that wrath was propitiated by my Savior. He will not rob me of hope for He gave His own Son to secure my hope. He isn’t bent on destroying my delight, for His Son died to give me unending delight. I know my God is good and kind and loving because the Cross displays it in depths beyond what I can fathom.
And this is what we are clinging to today. It doesn’t make our pain less, but it does help us to interpret it in relation to our God, to know that even in this moment we are experience the work and ways of our God who loves us and always acts for our good.