How can I cope with losing so much?
““How I long for months gone by, for the days when God watched over me”
When we are prosperous, our finances in good health, our bills paid, our job secure, we look at the misfortune of others as if it will never happen to us. We may even judge others harshly for the losses they suffer, blaming them for their stupidity or lack of foresight.
Then the day arrives when misfortune comes to us.
We’re made redundant, our business fails or we fall ill and, unable to work, our finances spiral out of control. We may be the victims of natural disasters, diseases or pandemics, which strike without warning and ruin our life’s work.
This is the fate that Job, a pious, faithful man, suffered. Blessed with good fortune throughout his life, Job’s faith was tested when his abundance was taken from him.
It reminds me of what happened to William. A stable, successful man, he found himself suffering inexplicable bouts of depression. As his mental health declined, his personality changed. Sunk into himself, he lost touch with his business and his family. Eventually he lost both.
With nothing left to live for, he came to me consumed by the unfairness of what he had suffered through no fault of his own.
William was a good man but that didn’t protect him from the misfortune that must, at some point, strike us all. I told him about Harold Kushner, who wrote the famous book When Bad Things Happen to Good People. Kushner’s son was born with a rare genetic illness and the book was an attempt to find meaning in that suffering.
Each of us will, at different times in our lives, suffer personal or financial loss. Like Job, we will be tempted to curse God, to blame Him for our misfortune or torment ourselves with the injustice of it all.
If this is the path we take, we will never recover, we will live out our lives in bitterness and rage.
That is not what God wants for us. As losses overwhelmed him, Job lost sight of God’s love to rediscover it and “repent in dust and ashes” (Job 42:6). Throughout his ordeal, even as he cursed the day he was born, Job never once cursed God. Steadfast in his love of the Lord, he went on to live a long and fruitful life, his fortunes restored.
Such a life is open to us all and when we are tested, we may hope that a part of our heart remains open to receive the blessings of the Lord, for God’s love is with us even when we feel its absence.