Peninsula Community Church
Grief and the Question Why?
February 10, 2019
Job 3:1-15 After this Job opened his mouth and cursed the day of his birth. And Job said: “Let the day perish on which I was born, and the night that said, ‘A man is conceived.’ Let that day be darkness! May God above not seek it, nor light shine upon it. Let gloom and deep darkness claim it. Let clouds dwell upon it; let the blackness of the day terrify it. That night—let thick darkness seize it! Let it not rejoice among the days of the year; let it not come into the number of the months. Behold, let that night be barren; let no joyful cry enter it. Let those curse it who curse the day, who are ready to rouse up Leviathan. Let the stars of its dawn be dark; let it hope for light, but have none, nor see the eyelids of the morning, because it did not shut the doors of my mother’s womb, nor hide trouble from my eyes. “Why did I not die at birth, come out from the womb and expire? Why did the knees receive me? Or why the breasts, that I should nurse? For then I would have lain down and been quiet; I would have slept; then I would have been at rest, with kings and counselors of the earth who rebuilt ruins for themselves, or with princes who had gold, who filled their houses with silver.
Today, we continue our study of grief and its effect on us. As we have stated already grief is a normal part of loss. While it is normal each person will experience grief differently and in different ways. We have determined that grief is not a linear process, but it is a bundle of tangled emotions. We have noted that in time we will come to a new normal, and that new normal will guide our lives to a new place of hope and adventure with God, the one who loves us deeply.
As we begin this study today, let me tell you a story. Many years ago there was a man who was a successful businessman. He was a spiritual giant. He was blameless in his actions and his deeds. He had a happy family. He was healthy and most of all he was a passionate follower of God. But one day his life was turned upside down. In a few short hours his children were tragically killed, his business was destroyed, he developed a serious illness, and within days of these tragedies his friends and his wife failed to understand the magnitude of what he was going through. They attempted to deflect the issues and attempted to make him the bad guy. They encouraged him to do things that were not in his wheel house of thinking.
The man I am talking about is Job. In this story satan issued a challenge to God, that if Job were to be tested, he would fail. God agreed because He knew Job’s heart. He knew that Job would endure whatever was thrown at him. As we read the story we see that the Sabeans came in and stole his oxen and donkeys and they killed the servants in charge. This would be like someone coming onto one of the farms around us and stealing the tractors, combines, hay balers, and other equipment and then killing those who operated the equipment. At the same time, we find that his sheep and cattle were burnt up in a fire. This would just like a local farmer’s crops being burnt up and destroyed. The last dagger he received was the word that all of his children had been killed by a sudden violent wind storm. This godly, righteous man according to Scripture faced grief on many levels and on several fronts.
While Job was a faithful and blameless man, he reached the point that we all reach many times when we face heartache and pain. He began to ask the question we all ask! “Why God!” “Why did this have to happen?” “Why did this happen to me?” “Why were my innocent children caught up in this mess?” “Why did I lose everything?” The questions seem to go on and on. As Job did we also have endless questions with little or no answers. In fact, the why question is not just a question we ask at someone’s death, but we ask “why” when we are confronted by many issues in life: divorce, crime, words and actions people take against us.
The question why is a natural question to be ask but it is a question that is much easier to ask than to answer. At first, we find that Job is rejoicing and proclaiming the sovereignty of God. Listen to his words. “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.” In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong (Job 1:21-22). In a moment that praise is turned the reality of grief and his heart swells with the questions.
When you think Job has had enough, we find that he is infected with horrible sores from his feet to his head. His whole body was affected by these sores and open wounds. Then we find the most painful thing of all. His wife instead of supporting him wanted him to curse God and die. She in essence wanted to get the pain over with. To be honest we might want to judge her, but we must remember that she is dealing with her own grief and pain from the loss of her family. Remember we all respond to grief differently. Then there are Job’s friends. Initially they just sat and did not do anything. Later we see they began to accuse Job of sin and wrong doing. They were blaming Job and they were trying to fix him. How many times have you been walking in grief or experiencing pain and people try to fix you? But, God is the only one who can fix us.
It was at this point where we see Job begin to ask the great question of all time. Why? Why was I born? Why did you not just kill me at brith and be done? This was more than Job could bear. While these are Job’s questions your questions may be totally different. The focus of your grief may be different. Your loss and the circumstances surrounding your loss will drive your questions you ask. With that in mind, let us look at a couple of things about the why question and its relationship to grief.
First of all, it is totally okey to be honest with God about your questions. David was honest. Job was honest. Many Biblical characters we read about were honest with their questions. We can be also honest because God knows our heart and He knows the pain of the unanswered questions that reside deep within us. Sometimes the pain of grief is experienced through the turmoil of unanswered questions, and it is for that reason we need to be honest with Him.
It is here that we are drawn to the words of David in Psalm 22:1-2. My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer, and by night, but I find no rest. Why have you forsaken me? Why were you not there? Why did you not intervene? But in Psalm 56:8 he reminds us that God does care. You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book? Think about this, we have a Father who keeps track of the tossing we do and He catches every single tear we cry in a bottle. When we begin to grasp the depth of that truth, we can say with confidence just as David did, This I know: God is on my side (Psalm 56:9). While it may not seem like it at times, God knows your pain. He knows your hurt. He knows the questions you have.
In looking at the question of why we must always also remember that we are living in a fallen world. This world is corrupt and therefore it is filled with sin, disease, and people who make bad decisions. People choose to eat the wrong things even though they have been diagnosed with heart disease or high blood pressure. They choose to drive drunk and cause accidents that take innocent lives. Because of sin, disease has come into the world. In God’s plan for the world there was no sin. There was no disease. There was no evil. Unfortunately from the time of the fall of mankind sin came, disease came, and now people make bad decisions that affect others. That is why sometimes the pain of death is so great. The one we love was taken by someone who made a bad decision and our loved one was innocent. That is painful.
This may be difficult to grasp but God does not owe us an explanation because He is God. In the story of Job we find that he is looking for answers. You see we often look at Job as this guy who never wavered and was stalwart in his faith, but he had questions just as much as we do. In Job 38:4-7 God answers his questions but it was not the answer Job was looking for. God says “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements—surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? On what were its bases sunk, or who laid its cornerstone, when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy? We are reminded that God’s ways are higher than our ways (Isaiah 55:8-9). They are past finding out. In essence, on this side of heaven there will be things that happen that we will not understand but we must trust Him. Job expressed this sentiment in Job 13:15. Though he slay me, I will hope in him; yet I will argue my ways to his face.
Finally, even if God gave us the answer to our why questions, we probably would not understand. We would still have more questions, and most often we would probably not agree with the answer or reasoning God would give anyway. If we had all of the answers we would probably still not be at peace or find that our grief is less than it is right now. In the end, we must trust God. I know that we keep coming back to this, but it is the truth of the matter. While it is hard to trust anyone when we are in pain, we must recognize that God provides and His ways are far above our ways. Only then can we trust Him and surrender our pain to Him.
With all of this in mind perhaps we are asking the wrong question. Perhaps we need to ask how is this going to be used in my life to make a difference in others? What does God want to do with this event and the grief I am facing? Remember Job. God used his losses to focus him on the redemption of God. In the end, we find that God will restore us to a new normal and He will open doors for us to speak into the lives of others. Job found that to be true. God restored him and brought him to a new normal. Now your new normal will be different, but you will reach a new normal. We know this because of Job’s own words. In Job 19:25 he stated For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth. Job knew that weeping may endure for the evening but joy will come again. We will get through this with a new revelation of truth about who God is and what He can do in and through us.
For an audio of this message go to http://pccministry.org/messages.
Copyright © 2019 All Rights Reserved Robert W. Odom