Lament

Steven Bouma-Prediger

READ : Job 1:13-22

“Naked have I come from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return there; the Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” (v. 21)

Calamity strikes Job and strikes him hard. He loses all his oxen and donkeys. He loses all his camels and sheep and servants. He even loses all his children. Devastation wrecks his comfortable life. And so Job wails and laments. He tears his clothing, shaves his head, and falls to the ground. But the words Job speaks are not words of condemnation. Contrary to what the Accuser expects, Job does not curse God to his face. Job, rather, humbly acknowledges that we enter and exit this earthly life with nothing. Job also acknowledges that all things, come what may, lie in God’s providential hand.

In times of great loss and pain it is difficult to keep our footing. The footbridge of faith is challenging to navigate. Some counsel that we should stuff our feelings and keep quiet before God. Others argue that we should jettison faith in an impotent God who allows such tragedy. Job offers a contrast to both shallow piety and angry atheism. Job laments—and keeps faith. Job clings to God with an honest faith.

PRAYER

O God, give us the freedom to lament in times of sorrow and the courage to acknowledge you in all things.