Have you ever asked yourself this question? Have you ever had anything taken away from you? Have you ever felt depleted? Have you ever felt worthless because you have nothing left to give? You’ve been stomped on both figuratively and literally. You’ve been talked about by those you considered your friends. You’ve been ostracized and ridiculed by that spouse or significant other who vowed to love and protect you. You’ve been shunned by your spiritual community because you made a public mistake. Or you’ve been stripped of your humanity at a time when you were most vulnerable.
Who can help you? Who can you turn to when everyone has turned you away? No one understands. No one gets it. No one gets you. You are all alone in this dog-eat-dog world. Even your offspring challenges your very existence, let alone authority. How the HELL do you live when so much has been taken away?
Have you ever felt that way? Because I have. And I do. The laundry list of things that I have lost is way longer than the things I have gained. I honestly feel like Job in the Bible. You know… Job… the man who lost everything so much so that he became known as “the curse”. When every one of his friends, and his wife, told him to curse his God and die. That there was nothing left for him to live for. THAT’S how I feel!! Yep, I feel like Job.
But I also have the faith of Job. Even as I type this blog, tears running down my face, thinking and listing in my head all that I have lost even over the last two and a half years of my life, I am reminded of my faith. How do you live when so much has been taken away? How do you get out of bed every morning, or afternoon, or whenever your eyes open, and move on in this thing called life? How do you continue to put on your clothes and go to your 9-5 job or living room or wherever you go to make the coins and pay the bills? How do you live when you feel as if you have nothing to live for?
One of the most powerful stories in the Bible is the story of Job. All that he lost, the pain he endured, and even in the midst of his pain, in the midst of his broken heart, he did not curse God. He yet believed. I feel my help coming right about now! Job lost his children, his riches, his health, everything that was near and dear to his heart; his wife turned on him; his friends accused him and blamed him for his loss; and all in all, his faith was unwavering. So much so that even Satan couldn’t believe it! Job had Satan scratching his head saying, “what the hell? Who is this man? I’ve taken everything from him and yet he still believes God. I don’t get it!”
Now, of course, I’m paraphrasing, but please read it for yourself. THAT is the kind of faith I have. THAT is the reason I cannot curse God. His track record is way better than mine. And if He told me that He was going to fix it. Then dammit He’s gonna do it. I don’t care what it looks like. I don’t care what it feels like. Feelings are unreliable and looks are deceiving. I can’t rely on my eyes or my feelings. All I have is God and His promise to me.
But don’t get it twisted. I have days when I am weak. And I can’t sleep. And I can’t stop crying. And I can’t stop feeling bad and thinking bad will always happen to me. Even Job, the greatest man of faith in the Bible, had a moment of weakness. Read chapters 3-40. See where he cursed the day he was ever born. See where he questions God for stripping him of everything after everything Job has done in the Name of the Lord. Job was known as a faithful man who had no evil in his heart. Even God said that about him. Yet God allowed Satan to touch everything dear to Job. Job was stripped of everything. But that was NOT the end of Job’s story. You have to keep reading to see where Job ended up. You have to finish the story. If you stop in the middle, you do yourself an injustice of seeing it through.
So how do you live when so much has been taken away? The answer is simple. One step at a time. Keep moving. Never stop moving. With every painful step, keep going. Drag your feet if you have to. Crawl if you have to. Pull your heavy body across the floor if you have to. Whatever you have to do, keep going. Keep moving. Why? Because after you have lost it all… after you have suffered a while… after you have cried all night and no more tears are left… There will come a day of RESTORATION. There will come a day when you will recover. There will come a day where you will regain everything that you lost one million times over.
Job 42:12 says, “So the Lord blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning…” Hold on I need a praise break real quick.
(INTERLUDE: PRAISE BREAK)
I honestly believe that I lost everything because what I have been called to do, I cannot go into that moment the way I was. So I thought I had it all together before, didn’t Job?? So I thought I did all the right things before, didn’t Job? Before was before. And tomorrow is tomorrow. What I did then will not carry into what I am called to do now. I am being remade. I am being rebuilt. Not that who I was before was wrong, but that was who I needed to be at that time. Now I am being called to a new time. To a new era. To a renewed calling. And God is building me for THAT.
So how do I live when so much has been taken away? By faith.