Then Job stood up, tore his robe, and shaved his head. He fell to the ground and worshiped, saying: Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will leave this life. The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away. Praise the name of Yahweh.Job 1:20-21
The month of May has been really rough for our family.
In addition to the passing of my paternal grandmother earlier this month, we had an unexpected pregnancy we discovered at 4.5 weeks only to culminate in early term loss at 6 weeks. This past Saturday, our breeding buck, Fonso died. Our hopes and plans for our goat herd and homestead have all been forcibly changed. The last few days have been characterized by gastric illness for 3 of our 6 family members, myself included.
Without going into all the details, suffice it to say my faith has been tried with one thing after the next. I praise God for His sovereignty, his omniscience, and His unsearchable ways. I would not have asked for any of this. No one would. But in looking back through my prayer journal over the last month, my prayers were consistently for our family’s good and God’s glory– for him to strip away anything that displeased Him, and to cultivate deep reliance upon Him– and for Him to do so as gently as possible, guarding us from the schemes of the enemy.
It’s hard to face loss in any capacity because knit into the fiber of our being is the desire for the eternal. As a Christian, it is easy to say what you believe when things are easy. It’s entirely different to walk through grief and sincerely say, “I will yet praise Him.” You truly come to know whether your faith is genuine, or whether you ascribed to mere platitudes. As Ann Voskamp put it, “the hard eucharisteo.“
But the truth is always true. And having just read C.S. Lewis’ The Problem of Pain and A Grief Observed, I can honestly and genuinely say the Lord prepared me to hold firmly to His Truth– The only Truth– in spite of my feelings, in spite of difficult circumstances. I cannot say that without a doubt, I understand fully the problem of evil and suffering in this life. But I can say that I know the Lord of Hosts, and His Word is carrying me.
On the one hand, my heart is weighed down with grief, and my body is weary and fatigued. On the other hand, I know that God has been merciful and faithful. I have the oddest combination of feeling grief and peace, sadness and relief. Because I know that regardless what circumstances may come, God will never leave nor forsake me. And He has been gentle, as hard as these losses have been, I praise Him for 1) keeping me firmly focused on Him and secure in my faith and 2) that they weren’t more severe.
Part of me feels like saying that is just going to open the floodgates of trials and I’m bracing myself for whatever comes next. So I keep going back to His Word and my prayer journal, and re-reading my thoughts and praying the Truth of God’s Word over them. And that lifeline of prayer and Scripture has held me fast.
I know I mentioned after my grandmother passed that I would miss the fact that a woman of God was interceding daily on my behalf. And I do wonder how much her prayers had fended off the attacks of the enemy. Am I experiencing life sans the prayers of a godly woman? It’s beyond time for me to pick up that sword and wield it on behalf of myself and my family. I have large shoes to fill.
I don’t know what is to come. I am not promised an easy life, or even respite from the current wave of trials. But my Heavenly Father knows all things, He sees all things, and He promises that my pain is not wasted; that each tear is bottled, and that He can redeem any and every circumstance for my good, and for His glory.
Amen, Come Lord Jesus.