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Setbacks Are Never Easy

Published 7/8/19

And he said, "Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord."


• Can you worship in the storm?

• In the pain of a setback, we have a choice to turn our focus inward, outward, or upward on our Lord. What have you chosen to do? (Share a story.)

• Worshipping in the midst of a storm becomes a more natural reaction when it's already a regular part of our lives. How can you make this a natural part of your life?

Starting with Job 1:20, we begin to see Job's reaction to the tragic messages he had received. Does anything surprise you in these verses? If you've studied Old Testament customs, you probably already know that tearing one's clothes was a common sign of grief. Shaving of the beard was a mark of sadness for men as well.

And then he fell to the ground and worshipped the Lord.

That last part takes my breath away. Faced with the biggest setback of his life, Job turned to his Lord in worship. When I (Pam) think back to the setbacks I've experienced, I'm sad to admit that focusing on God, His glory and holiness, was usually not my initial reaction. Storms and tragedies tend to spur me into action. Rather than pausing to worship, I'm comforting others, making phone calls, and arranging details. Perhaps these actions are to avoid the pain. Perhaps they are attempts to control what is ultimately an uncontrollable situation.

What about you? Maybe setbacks immobilize you, with all your energies directed inward as you try to emotionally process the pain and shock of what has happened.

Job felt that pain too; this is why he tore his clothes and shaved his beard. Yet he didn't turn those emotions inward. He didn't focus his energy outward and jump into action. Rather, he turned his focus up--to his Lord. Job's relationship with God was so close that turning to the Lord in the midst of overwhelming grief was natural.

The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 sent waves of shock and grief all across the country. As people heard the news, a common reaction was to connect with family immediately. Many were also drawn to the church for prayer and comfort in the midst of unfathomable tragedy.

Similarly, in this passage, Job was seeking comfort from his Lord. He had just heard the worst news of his life, and he was running into the arms of his best friend.

Worshipping the Lord at this moment also gave Job some reassurance. Although everything in his world had just changed, one thing remained the same. God was still God, Alpha, Omega, everlasting.

In verse 21, Job stated eternal truth: everything we have on this earth is from the Lord. And inevitably some things will be taken away and we will experience the pain of loss. Still we bless God's name for who He is. And knowing that His love for us never gives up and never runs out, we can boldly run to Him amid our setbacks.


Abba Father, you are holy, Lord God Almighty. You alone are worthy of worship. Thank You, Lord, for being a mighty refuge at all times. Amen.

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