Do people really mean “…though He slay me, I will trust Him…”? It is a text preached from often and one audiences and congregations swoon over in excitement, jubilee, and joy. But what does it rally mean? The man, husband, father, and businessman responsible for these words spoke them in response to great loss – loss of wealth, financial stability, livestock, and staff; loss of sons and daughters; loss of health and strength; and acute marital distress. These words were not words amidst a single episode of life with multiple options for resolution. It was grave loss and what many professionals would call complex grief.
On one end the owner of these words is experiencing the piercing pains and agony of back to back to back losses. He is unable to catch his breath and to deal with one thing at a time. He is not afforded the luxury of processing feelings and emotions to ensure healthy and proper emotional awareness and response to each grievous moment.
On the other end he is reminded that life is so much bigger than he is and he serves, worships, and lives for a Lord that is greater than he is and greater than his loses. His words are words of focus, worship, and direction. They are words to remind himself along with others that his life is not his own. His wealth, business, staff, sons, daughters, and marriage did not come from himself. They were gifts, provision, and resources for him to steward, oversee, and tend to. These words were words reflecting how he was God’s workmanship and the Lord is the potter and he is the clay constantly molding and shaping the soul to reflect the image of God and not his own.
While all that is true and valid, it is also true these words reflect the reality that he as a man, a human being, limited in many ways serving an unlimited God and pours all his pain into his trust in his Lord. All the losses and all the despair and all the tragedy and all the acute distress with no time, no opportunity, and no chance to say goodbye, to process one thing at a time to grieve the loss of each individual, all of it poured whole heartedly into his trust in his Lord. Sometimes, this life is too much to bear and we need an easier yoke and lighter burden.
1 Corinthians 10:1