Heathdale flower 26th February 2020

When Life Does a Job on You

Grief, pain and suffering are not welcomed guests in the home that is our life. We struggle to make sense of it. As we learn to trust God with the things in life that we may never understand, we are transformed.

Heathdale flower

We’re privileged to have an amazing Pastoral Care team on staff at Heathdale that not only have a heart for students and staff, but our entire school community. Given the start of this year has posed its share of challenges for many families, I’ve asked our Staff Chaplain, Kirby Lancaster, to write this week’s devotion. I trust it will be a blessing to you, as it has been to me:

Recently, a special documentary on the Coronavirus aired on the ABC’s 4 Corners program. This was an eye opening and concerning documentary, showing recent and living history of this devastating disease. What was consistently shown through this program, was the utter devastation, distress and grief that this disease is causing throughout Wuhan, the Hubei Province and beyond. As we think through the beginning of this year, with the tail end of the bushfire season that affected so many and into the wide-reaching Coronavirus, not to mention the many personal journeys that have faced our community – it is reminded to me, that this is not the first time life has thrown distress and grief into our lives. It is also found in one of the Bible’s oldest books, Job.

In Job’s day, there was no one on earth like him. He was a blameless, upright, God-fearing, and turn-away-from-evil sort of guy. God blessed him with 10 beautiful children, large herds of livestock, and all the servants needed to care for his vast estate. As a father he was supremely desirous that God would be honoured within his family. Then one day without warning, four consecutive tsunamis of epic proportions slammed hard against him, taking everything and leaving him with only his wife and three friends. His response was incredible: “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).

Within our school community, we are experiencing numerous tidal waves of emotion as a result of many heartaches, losses, and untold pain in recent months. There are no words that can adequately express the grief and pain people feel as they helplessly watch their loved ones suffer. The grieving sense of loss cascades like unending waves, crashing on the shoreline of their hearts. Grief, pain and suffering are not welcomed guests in the home that is our life. We struggle to make sense of it. We try to appear strong, keep a stiff upper lip, think positively – while filling our life with activity – a cheap anaesthetic that momentarily dulls the pain.

Sometimes we think that relief can be found in answers, but true freedom and relief is actually found in surrender. Listen to what Job declares, “I know that You can do all things, and that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted” (Job 42:2). This is remarkable, as Job had no idea what that purpose was, because God never gave him any explanation for his suffering. Instead, the Lord demonstrated His absolute wisdom and power and that was sufficient for Job. Somehow in this response, Job’s faith is transformed. Job’s suffering and grief invited him to see God in a way he had never known before and he cries out prayer, “I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you” (Job 42:5). Job learned that he could trust God with the things in this life he would never have the privilege of understanding – and so, it is with us.

As we learn to trust God with the things in life that we may never understand, we are transformed. We may never know why we are going through trials, why we experience grief through the trials and loss of family members or through diseases such as the Coronavirus which is still devastating communities. We can, however, take comfort in knowing there is always a reason for our suffering. Reasons that are bigger and more magnificent than anything we can imagine. One day we will see all of God’s glorious purposes in our pain and trials. But for now, as we wait, we must trust Him.