Losses are an obstacle that either strengthens or weakens our faith in God. Can God remain central even when great losses occur? In 1 Chronicles 7:20-23, we find the story of a man who loses two sons. Ephraim’s two sons who were either watching the flocks or were a party to a raid were killed. It’s another Job (read the prologue in the book of Job 1-2) story all over again. Unlike Job, who continues to worship God and keeps honouring God, Ephraim is so overcome by the tragedy that he can’t move past it. In time, God, in His grace, gives him another son, but what does he do? He calls him, Beriah, which means misfortune.
When misfortune strikes, we have a choice to make. We can become frustrated, angry, and begin to blame. Often we blame God. Why did he allow this to happen? Or we blame the devil, forgetting that he is limited in what he does (cf. the story of Job). Or we blame others for our misfortune, and yes, we even blame ourselves. Blaming is counterproductive behaviour. Blaming is a natural response to trouble. Though we often cannot control what happens to us, we can control how we will respond. God is looking for a godly response to trouble.
One reason we blame is that we are trying to make sense of what is happening. We are trying to understand. But we don’t have to have all the answers. There are moments in the Christian life that we don’t understand, but we are called to trust. Misfortune and tragedy is such a time. We can ask the question, why? But what we need to do is simply trust, even when we don’t understand. Trust relinquishes the right to assume. When Job was trying to understand why God had allowed all the tragedy in his life, he demanded from God an explanation, which God never gave him. God does not owe us, his creation, an explanation for his actions.
Some might say this is blind trust. However, if we have cultivated a relationship with God, we soon learn that God is trustworthy. God is loving. God desires the best for our lives. We may not understand the situation today, but because of our confidence in who he is, we know that God will work even tragedy for the good to us his trusting children (cf. Romans 8:28). It may not be fully realized and finally understood until we are in heaven.