Conversation No. 1: You are not Job.
For a brief moment, I thought I might be another Job—you know, the man who the Bible tells of having a series of horrific things happen to him only to have the Lord bless “the latter days of Job more than his beginning”. In 2008, our family began a downward spiral into the abysses called the economy. It was a defining moment in our lives until we packed up and left for Nashville in December of 2012. Nashville gave us an unexpected fresh start, a chance to start over free from the baggage we had allowed ourselves to tote around with us. Then in 2013, my dad was killed in a bicycling accident one month before my brother was to be married. My heart broke knowing that I could never hug my dad’s neck again, and it wept for my mother who was left alone as a widow.
We now had a spectrum of empathy and experience to relate to those who had been through loss in one way or another. We already had a story of His redemption to tell at this point—how we had learned through adversity to come together as a family, serve others instead of ourselves, and most importantly dwell fully in Christ’s teachings of the Kingdom. Surely, we were in the clear for a while. The God of Love had to know that we couldn’t handle much more. We had lived our fair share. God wouldn’t allow anything else to touch our family because we had taken our turn, learned our “lessons”, and served our time. We were safe for a good while, right?
Even when Kensi started having severe migraines, I would not allow myself to think the worst—it would be ridiculous to do so, because we had already been on the road of tragic surprises. In a sense, I guess I thought that we were now untouchable. When the nurses asked if they could speak to me alone, and then escorted me down the hall to a tiny room that I assumed was for the purpose of breaking bad news, I knew that what they were about to tell me would put me back on that road. Usually, I have a bizarre ability to recall the details of my settings, but I honestly couldn’t tell you at all what that room looked like, only what was said, “Your daughter has a mass at the base of her brain.”
ME: “Are you kidding, God? At this point, it’s not just about me. What about my mom who is still grieving for her husband? What about my husband? Do You know the stress that consumed his past? What about friends? How can we possibly ask them to pray for more? Oh, and the family . . . we just had a funeral last year.”
The surgery was done. The prayers of friends and family were heard. We had a peace that surpasses comprehension that surrounded us then and the days to follow. I went home to clean up and get a full night’s sleep while my husband took his rotation at the hospital. We would know the results in a few days. That night I couldn’t sleep, so I decided to have another gentle talk with God.
ME: “Is this what the rest of our lives are going to be filled with . . . exhaustion, worry, fear? Will she be able to walk? Will we live with chemotherapy every day? Do we need to puta hospital bed in the living room? What if it’s cancer? Then what? Am I next? I have been feeling some weird pains in my side. Should I have them checked out? I know You’ve got this. It’s going to be okay, but . . . ”
That’s when He laid it on me. He did not clinch me with guilt over the sadness that fought against my faith or the worry that had been creeping in my heart. He did not remind me that there are people who live my fears every day of their lives! He did not say that I should be thankful she emerged from the surgery glowing and healthy and that everything really was going to be okay. He simply said, “You are not Job.”
I came to understand that Job and I are not the same creations, even though we were created by the same Creator. His was a story where his life was handed over to the enemy, “Behold all that [Job] has; he is in your power”(Job 1:12). In MY story, I am promised to never be alone or forgotten—“I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU” (Hebrews 13:5).
The God of Love, the “Impenetrable Mystery”, will never leave me to a pattern of loss, sorrow, pain, or loneliness. Yes, my future will have more tears. Yes, there will be more struggles and pain, but I will never be alone. This life is MY story. I am not Job, and neither are YOU! So friends, let’s not expect the worst or worry about what tomorrow may bring, but know when it seems like the sun will never shine again, He will never leave us. – LHB