Overcoming Tragedy

Like Job in the Bible, the author learned to deal with loss--while maintaining her spiritual innocence.

BY: Mary Anne Thomas


Blame follows tragedy like a dog follows its master. When a business fails or a relationship ends, the first thing we do is assign the blame. And blame doesn't just come from others. We get plenty of it from ourselves. When things go wrong, we ask ourselves what sins we committed. Spiritual people especially question their intentions. Weren't we positive enough? Didn't we love enough?

Self-blame immobilizes us, preventing us from looking for solutions. We obsess over what we've done wrong. Like deer caught in the headlights, we can't run right or left. We stand still, waiting to be hit.

Blame has been around a long time. More than 3000 years ago, the writer of the Book of Job came up with a solution to self-blame.

Job was a man abundantly blessed by God. According to the Bible, he had ten children, many servants, and thousands of sheep, camels and oxen. He was considered the "greatest of all people of the East."

Satan grew jealous and demanded that God test Job. Take everything away from this favored human being, said the Adversary, and Job will curse God for it.

But that's not what happened.

One day, when Job was at home, resting and reflecting on his blessings, servants arrived to announce that all of Job's possessions and loved ones had been destroyed-by the violence of his enemies, by fire from heaven, and lastly by a great wind that killed all his children.

Job responded in what has now become the Bible's most famous prayer of acceptance: "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."

Job was not willing to blame God for his tragedies, but he was also not willing to blame himself. He kept his spiritual connection to God and to himself, and he eventually regained everything he had lost.

Eight years ago, something similar happened to me. I lost everything in a series of tragedies.

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