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Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?
(Job 2:10 NKJV)
The lyrics we considered during yesterday’s segment of A 30-Day Conversation is one that I chose ahead of time for that specific date. First of all, Someone Who Cares is has long been one of my favorite traditional gospel classics. Secondly, in the link to the performance, Mary Tom Speer Reid reminds me particularly of my maternal grandmother, the anniversary of whose death my family observes at this time each year. That same anniversary also marks my first encounter of praying when my own words escaped me.
That Friday evening turned out to be what some, I suppose, would call a textbook tragedy. One moment my family was chatting about whatever came to mind while clearing supper dishes from the table; the next moment we heard the grinding car crash that took my grandmother’s life. The remainder of the evening still seems a blur in my mind, but I recall being the last person up with Mom that night. Finally, around 2am, she sent me to bed.
I remember trying so hard to pray, and I remember being able to think of a single word to say to God. Please understand the very important point of the following statement: I had absolutely no anger toward God for what had happened, nor did I feel compelled to flail about and demand to know the why of this sudden agonizing situation. Perhaps I was numb from a degree of shock, but whatever the case, for the first time in my life I simply could not produce an original prayer. And that left me with a feeling I didn’t like; even in my numbness and exhaustion I longed for conversation with God.
With no warning, I began to borrow words from the writers of some of my favorite hymns of worship. I must’ve sung – silently – 15 or 20 songs in those wee hours. And you know what? He spoke back to me through those very same words. And that experience of praising God on that night of life-altering tragedy opened a new level of conversation to which I have returned numerous times.
It also brings to mind – although my tragedies don’t begin to match the severity of his – the scriptural account of Job and his response in our passage-of-focus for today.  
For many believers – including myself – there is a sense of isolation that results from a severe tragedy or trial. Most of us, even for a brief instant, experience a feeling of being alone when tragedy strikes. On that tragic night 23 years ago, for example, if I’m honest there was a point when I felt I could have been the first granddaughter in history to lose a grandmother in a car crash. I’ve wondered on occasion since that time about the devastating aloneness that Job must have felt when he lost everything (see Job 1:13-19).
But early on in Job’s story, we as believers that he – and by extension we – are never alone in our struggles, broken-heartedness and bewilderment at it all. Job I:1-12, in fact, outlines the exact events leading up to Job’s mind-boggling experience, events of which Job was completely unaware and God was completely aware. God was more than familiar with Job and the wholehearted obedience he sought to render; He even brought up Job’s name as Satan roamed about in search of human prey.
While the previous statement opens untold possibilities for theological discussion, the point of Job 1 for our purposes in today’s post is this: when the unthinkable strikes – the tragedies, the trials, the persecutions – we can know with staunch assurance that God knows every last detail of what we’re facing. Even more to the point, He knows why we’re facing it. And He cares. He cares so deeply! Our head- and heart-knowledge, our embracing, of this fact is imperative to our ability to let-go-and-let-God counteract the sense of isolation and loneliness with which the enemy attempts to convince us that no one understands where we are or what darkness enshrouds us. Because – write this one down, circle it in ink and highlight it with a bold color – God knows it…He knows everything that you know about your struggles and heartaches plus what you don’t know about them!
What’s more, through Jesus Christ His only Son, He’s given believers a salvific and faithful High Priest who experienced every test and trial that we experience. Christ therefore has every capability to and does empathize with our situations; through the Holy Spirit, He gives us the strength, encouragement and guidance we must have to navigate them (Hebrews 4:15-16). And Christ Himself described our Father God as One who makes it His business to take into detailed account the life of every last little sparrow – and even moreso our lives. This is an omniscient God who literally knows it all, right down to the number of hairs on our heads (Luke 12:6-7).
This is the God whom Job knew and considered praiseworthy even when his own life was crumbling and the fallout left him quaking down to the soles of his sore, ash-covered feet. Obviously, he was bewildered as to how or why all of these tragedies came about in his life; one constant throughout his story, though, is that he knew that God knew what was happening in his life. The other constant is this: even when the conversation wasn’t at its easiest or best, Job never stopped communicating with God. And in the end, he was a far better – and far better blessed – man for for keeping those line open (Job 42:10-17).
Conclude Day 24 by reflecting on the following questions, then document your PRAYER conversation for today in light of your answers.
Have you ever felt alone or bewildered when an unexplainable tragedy struck your life? Please explain. Did you converse with God about it? If so, what was your conversation like?
What, if any, goals would you like to set for keeping your line of communication with God open and flowing when circumstances do leave you feeling alone and bewildered? How might you implement these into your life?
Praise and Thanksgiving:
            In your own words, who is God to you personally? What has He done for you specifically
            in the past day or so – especially the little things – that surprised you or drew you
This one seems obvious, but consider making a deliberate commitment to go
            beyond “I’m sorry” and make a sincere commitment to do your best through Christ
            to lay these sins aside.
            Love Him. Worship Him. And don’t be afraid to do so with hymns or other songs of
            worship…sometimes mere words may not seem adequate to you. That’s ok!
Is there something you need to turn over to God? A circumstance you can’t control?
            Complicated relationship? Your own will that’s struggling with His will?
What are your concerns, your hopes, your dreams for your church? Your family?
Friends? Not-so-much friends? Yourself?
            End your conversation with the firm knowledge that you are God’s and God is yours.
            Affirm your trust in His all-powerful, never-ending presence in your life. Thank Him
            again for what He’s done for you in the past and what He will do for you in the future
            that’s in accordance with His will. This is an important and proactive demonstration of
            your faith in Him.

Copyright 2017 Carole Anne Hallyburton. All rights reserved.