“For what I fear comes upon me, And what I dread befalls me. I am not at ease, nor am I quiet. And I am not at rest, but turmoil comes.” Job
It reads like an opening line from a dramatic screenplay.
Let’s apply that opening line to real life.
Joe could not have known what was about to happen, and in just a few seconds, no longer than a couple of minutes, it was all over.
Returning from hunting on a Sunday morning the nine-year old little boy approached his family’s trailer.
As he neared the door to open it, he heard first one gunshot, then a second.
As he opened the door his world changed forever.
Just inside was his mother and his father laying in a now increasing pool of crimson red blood, a portion of their brain splattered on the floor and on the wall, with life slowly oozing out of their bodies.
Nothing could be done to turn back this event.
He stood there as a nine-year old orphan.
The next few days Joe would attend two funerals in this small south Georgia town.
An aunt took Joe in, then a grandmother.
After graduating from high school Joe would find himself at seventeen years of age, homeless and living under a bridge, in this slow paced country haven.
Until a friend came, picked him up and took him home to live with their family.
And now he is twenty-five years old, and I am sitting in a church sanctuary on a chilly evening and he sits four rows in front of me.
Tall, broad shoulders, country big.
And a few minutes after the service concludes I am sitting next to him asking him to relive this awful tragedy.
So that I might write about hope.
“How do you find hope in any of this?”, I asked him, being as gentle as I could.
Joe responded, “I can’t change it. There is no sense getting mad about it. You have to get up and go, and don’t dwell on the past. I have a will to survive.”
This past summer when I first heard this amazing, almost unbelievable story, I asked Joe how he approached each new day.
He said, “I get up, put my boots on, pick my head up and go.”
A simple answer and that is exactly how Joe takes on each new day.
Tragedy is not new to man.
It has been around since just after man was created.
How does one handle, not even handle, but survive circumstances that should otherwise crush us under the weight of loss and tragedy?
People have an unexplained determination to get through the worst imaginable event.
And many even find a purpose through their suffering.
And that is what this chapter is about; those who find the will and the hope to survive and triumph, as this young man has.
I will end this entry with some of the most remarkable words that have been recorded in literature regarding a man beset by tragedy.
He lost all of his children and their families, to death in a single event.
Every financial asset he owned was stolen.
His own body had been taken over by boils.
His one remaining family member, his wife, possibly through her own pain and anguish, had told him to depart from his faith and his hope then simply die.
The most amazing part of this tragic story?
God had intentionally pulled back his hand and allowed this to happen.
For His purposes.
So that thousands of years later we each could find Hope in our lives.
The last two lines of this entry are quotes from this true event regarding hope.
“Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I shall return there. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.” spoken by Job.
“Through all this Job did not sin nor did he blame God.” Spoken by God.