August 18, 2022

Living Life after Accumulated Losses

Key Verse to Read and Treasure

While he was yet speaking, there came another and said, “Your sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house, and behold, a great wind came across thew wilderness and struck the four corners of the house, and I alone have escaped to tell you.” (Job 1:18,19, ESV)  

For Insight

Job and his wife are excellent examples of what it means to experience accumulated losses. Accumulated losses are the losses we experience over either a brief or expanded time. They can be deaths of people we care about, but don’t have to be. Our accumulated losses can include loss of income, loss of health, loss of relationships, possessions, job, and pets. Just to name a few. Some losses impact us more than others and we might not grieve them all the same way. If we have lost a family pet, we might not grieve the same as if we lost our spouse or parent, but the pain is just as real and our response of grief is normal. Job and his wife were hit with the loss of property and possessions, the sudden deaths of their children, and Jobs illness. That was a lot to process and take in.   

In their story we see how Job and his wife coped with their losses differently. Job’s wife became angry and lashed out against her husband and God, while Job isolated himself, withdrawing to a place where he could grieve alone. In his grief he could not think straight, think about the future, or handle anything more than sitting in a pile of ashes and scraping his sores.     

What losses have you experienced over your lifetime? Can you relate to Job and his wife? Have you lost children, health, possessions? The loss of children don’t have to be death-related, but can also be being cut off from them or no longer having contact with them. Have you experienced miscarriage, or maybe you’re your home? Have you been able to go on with life or do you feel stuck? Do you need help to keep swimming and going forward?

When we grieve there is no right or wrong way to respond. The way we grieve and react to loss is as unique as we are and the relationships we lose. When we have experienced loss—singular or plural—God does not want us to stop living. Even though it might be hard He wants us to move forward. He speaks to us just as the little fish Dory said to her friend in Finding Nemo, “Just keep swimming.” Just keep going, just keep opening your eyes to a new day, just keep trusting in God, and leaning into his strength. Just keep depending on God and looking to Him to carry you through.

At the conclusion of Job God showed Job that everything good was not behind him; there was still more life to live, and he blessed Jobs latter days more than his former years. ( Read Job 42:12).

Like Job, we can know it may not seem like it at the time but there is a rich, full, and rewarding life yet ahead. Experiencing loss is difficult, experiencing accumulated loss takes a lot out of us and can shake us to our core, and for a while it may not feel as though we will survive, but God is faithful and will bring us through. More than that, He has an abundance of blessings lined up for us as we move into the future with Him if we just keep swimming!

Praying Job 1:18-19

God, sometimes our losses come in droves and are more than we can bear. As our losses stack up help us to keep our eyes on you and trust that You are big enough to heal our broken hearts and disappointments. May we do as that little fish dory said, “Just keep swimming,” Just keep living and hoping and trusting, knowing You are with us, our strength and breath. Amen   

Prayer Challenge

Have you experienced accumulated losses and feel stuck or unable to heal?  

Digging Deeper

Read Job 1:1-21

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