Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Story Arch of Grief

There is a blessed assurance when we grieve. All but one Psalm of Lament ends with an uplifting note. God takes our struggles, our pains, our grief and turns them into laughter and joy. This is how the theme of biblical grief arches.

Some of this joy will be realized and some won't. David lost his child and then was given Solomon. David was hunted down like an animal and then was given a kingdom and a promise by God. David saw his kingdom, but did not see the Savior.

Job lost all of his children, his buildings, his flock and he was given more children, more beautiful than the last, more buildings, more flocks. Job's joy was realized. Now there is more to this story arch though. Job had demanded a response from God. Job truly was righteous before God, not in a sinless sort of way, but Scripture gives us no reason to believe God was punishing him for some secret sin. In fact the opposite is true. But job never got his answer. God never told Job why he lost his family, why all earthly respect was taken from him, why his riches were destroyed. God ends it with a reminder of his power, his pre-existence, his plan that has been running the cosmos since before time began. That's how it ended as far as that's concerned.

When I suffer with grief I cling earnestly to the promise that my sorrow will be turned to joy. I don't know how or when, but God will turn sorrow into joy. But what I think I yearn for even more than joy, at least sometimes, is to know why. Why was this grief given to me? That is where my faith needs to remember that even though Job didn't know during his lifetime, he found out eventually. This life isn't going to answer all of our questions, but our unanswered questions do not take away from God's goodness.

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