Suffering (Part 47)
Cascading Loss: Job
Now on the day when his sons and his daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother's house, a messenger came to Job and said, 'The oxen were plowing and the donkeys feeding beside them, and the Sabeans attacked and took them. They also slew the servants with the edge of the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell you.' While he was still speaking, another also came and said, 'The fire of God fell from heaven and burned up the sheep and the servants and consumed them, and I alone have escaped to tell you.' While he was still speaking, another also came and said, 'The Chaldeans formed three bands and made a raid on the camels and took them and slew the servants with the edge of the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell you.' While he was still speaking, another also came and said, 'Your sons and your daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother's house, and behold, a great wind came from across the wilderness and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell on the young people and they died, and I alone have escaped to tell you.'
Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head, and he fell to the ground and worshiped. He said,
'Naked I came from my mother's womb,
And naked I shall return there.
The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away.
Blessed be the Name of the Lord.'
Through all this Job did not sin nor did he blame God.
Job 1:13-22 (NASB)
Cascading loss is a series of falls: taking one hard hit after another. Have you seen how bad things can come in groups? Or maybe someone who seems to receive an unusual number of setbacks? You wonder why and pray for that person, hoping you don't suffer similarly.
In one amazingly terrible day, Job lost ten children and most of his help. He lost 11,000 animals. Next, He lost his health and his wife's respect. Lastly, Job lost the support of his friends. They were religious men who studied God, and they believed Job was being punished. They added insults to his injuries, suggesting Job brought it all on himself.
Actors, models and talent for Christ: The Book of Job clearly illustrates the best of men can suffer losses. It shows how the best of human minds, including those who claim to know God, cannot understand grievous hardships: why they're allowed or how they're repaid.
Many Bible scholars study Job, and you can read their commentaries. Better still, re-read this mighty Book. Become a student of Its Author. Because God wants to teach you Himself. No one, no matter how wise he seems, should translate the Word of God for you.
Job's friends got it wrong. Pastors can, too.
Perhaps today's worst cascading loss is Christians who rely on preachers (or their popular, best-selling books) to interpret the Bible for them: surely not I, nor 'Jesus Calling,' should stand in such lofty positions.
At best, we are only supplements. The Bread of Life must be consumed first.
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Suffering series.