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  • Writer's pictureAllison Wilcox

Sorrow to Joy: Moving from suffering

Then Job answered the Lord:

“I know that you can do all things and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted. ‘Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?’ Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me that I did not know. ‘Hear, and I will speak; I will question you, and you declare to me.’ I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.”


And the Lord restored the fortunes of Job when he had prayed for his friends, and the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before. Then there came to him all his brothers and sisters and all who had known him before, and they ate bread with him in his house; they showed him sympathy and comforted him for all the evil that the Lord had brought upon him; and each of them gave him a piece of money and a gold ring. The Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning, and he had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand donkeys. He also had seven sons and three daughters. He named the first Jemimah, the second Keziah, and the third Keren-happuch. In all the land there were no women so beautiful as Job’s daughters, and their father gave them an inheritance along with their brothers. After this Job lived one hundred and forty years and saw his children and his children’s children, four generations. And Job died, old and full of days. ~ Job 42:1-6,10-17


Not many people fortunately have the kind of loss in their life that Job does in the book that bears his name.


And whoever wrote the story of Job seemed to have an early understanding of the five stages of grief. Job moves through all of them.


He denies at first the significance of the tragedy of his life. God gives, and God takes away.


After this, Job moves to anger. Anger at his loneliness. Anger at the "advice" his friends give. And ultimately, anger at God for the injustice of it all.


Job eventually begins bargaining with God through his prayer.


And when he doesn't get the answers from God that he hoped for, Job becomes depressed.


Finally, Job moves to acceptance. He no longer blames God. He begins to see God in a new light, as well as himself.


We might think it helped that God gave Job back a new family and returned his wealth. But before those gifts, Job's sorrow has turned to the joyful place of insight and understanding.


Job begins again as one who fully understands who he is. He is able to repent - turn back - toward God again.


- Have you ever noticed the five stages of grief in your life? Did you ever feel stuck on one of them?

- Take some time to read the book of Job. What do you think of his story?



Holy One, lead me, push me, pull me, prompt me along this journey of faith. Keep my footsteps sure and my eyes fixed on the places you would send me. Amen


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