Ancient Wisdom When Suffering Loss

The Bible brings to us from very ancient times, various principles for coping with loss. Job suffered the sudden loss of everything but his very life. He lost wealth, family, and health. He was in misery. But one thing he did not lose was his good relationship with God. Here are some of the principles that Job learned and held to…

  • Don’t blame God for your loss (Job 2:7-10).
  • Don’t smother your grief (Job 7:11, 10:1).
  • Don’t miss the lesson in the loss (Job 14:1-12).
  • Don’t be burdened with guilt (Job 27:1-6).
  • Don’t lean on your own understanding (Job 42:1-6).
  • Wait upon God to restore you (Job 42:12-13).

The Purpose of Suffering (Php 1:28-30)

The bad things that happen are not good news in themselves; however they can, in a special and wonderful way, be turned to our purpose and goal. Paul puts it this way: “It has been granted to you to suffer for Christ’s sake” (Php 1:28-30). So when we undergo suffering, we should understand that we are privileged to share in Christ’s suffering (1Pe 4:13,19).

These passages are, of course, about suffering persecution. However don’t be quick to put persecution in a small box. For example, why not understand that illness, loss of possessions, bereavement, and suchlike, are forms of persecution?

Job was persecuted by Satan with those seemingly natural misfortunes (Job 1-2). Our chief persecutor is Satan, and he still works in the same way (James 5:10-11). In fact all undeserved suffering can be rightly attributed by Christians to an attack by Satan meant to discourage our faith in Christ. But we respond by recognising that we are honoured to share in the sufferings of Christ and to endure faithfully for his sake and in his strength:

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Php 4:13).