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Mourning Has Broken (part 2 of 3)

Job wrestles with the why of it all, not as an expression of unbelief but as an expression of faith.

“Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?’” (Job 2:10) 


Who of us is not acquainted with grief? Our spouse of forty years succumbs to cancer, and we are crushed. Part of us dies with them. We grieve the loss of their presence, their conversation, their touch, their ear, the life forged by loving partnership over the years. Memories both haunt us and heal us, bringing tears to our eyes and a smile to our face. We lift our eyes to ongoing life without them and we wonder how we can press on. 

We are introduced early on in the book of Job to his ten children, seven sons and three daughters. They would rotate hosting family gatherings. Job was continually attentive to them and concerned for their spiritual welfare. We also learn of the vast possessions of Job. He was a man of position and prestige. The picture given us is of one enjoying life in relationship with God and man. 

Then came the avalanche of adversity. Job’s family and fortune were taken away in cataclysmic fashion. His body was afflicted with horrific suffering. His entire routine, everything that made life normal and satisfying, came crashing down. The only thing left standing was his integrity, and his wife urged him to cast that aside, curse God, and die. 

The strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow are ours in our Redeemer. 

As we survey the devastation of Job, we are reminded that loss in this fallen world extends beyond our most cherished relationships. While our grief may be most acute when it comes to the deaths of those we love, it extends to all sorts of loss and instability and impermanence that characterize life under the scourge of sin. 

If we incline our ears, we can hear Job lamenting the loss of what life used to be when things were normal. He gives voice to his struggles and confusion and frustration. His grief is raw and unbridled. Like Job, our faces are red with weeping as anguish roils within us (Job 16:16). 


It has been observed that grieving is a process. People move from the initial shock of encounter with loss to experience all sorts of emotions and reckonings as they come to grips with that loss. In her seminal work On Death and Dying, Elizabeth Kübler-Ross identifies five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. It’s not as though these stages are met like traversing the locks of passage in the Panama Canal, where we clearly and cleanly leave one stage to enter another, but we can relate to movement, momentum, and meaning in the grieving process. 

We find various elements in the book of Job as he struggles with his suffering. His thought process can be found in his responses to his friends. We see anger, confusion, and despair. He wants to summon God before him to explain Himself while Job questions Him. He wrestles with the why of it all, not as an expression of unbelief but as an expression of faith.


This article first appeared in the June 7, 2023 issue of

Stan Gale

Stanley D. Gale (MDiv Westminster, DMin Covenant) has pastored churches in Maryland and Pennsylvania for over 30 years. He is the author of several books, including A Vine-Ripened Life: Spiritual Fruitfulness through Abiding in Christ and The Christian’s Creed: Embracing the Apostolic Faith. He has been married to his wife, Linda, since 1975. They have four children and ten grandchildren. He lives in West Chester, Pa.
Books by Stan Gale

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