“My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes (Job 42:5,6).”
Jordan Burnham, a high school kid who seemed to have it all, had just jumped out of his bedroom window, eight stories up. When police found him, his legs and other parts of his body were badly broken and he was bleeding from his face, mouth and head.
At the hospital, the doctor told his father Earl that there was a 60% chance Jordan would die. The doctor had never seen anyone survive a fall of more than five stories.
Jordan had suffered from depression, but no one thought he was capable of a suicide attempt. On his way to the hospital with his wife, Jordan’s mom, Earl said, “I need a miracle.” After the doctor told him the prognosis, Earl prayed:
“God, I know I’ve asked you for a lot of things. But this is one time I’m going to ask you: I need a miracle. I will rededicate myself. God, if you can save my son’s life . . . I’m giving this over to you, God. I’m letting go. Whatever your will is, I accept. ”
Two and a half years later Jordan speaks to school groups about dealing with depression. His father calls him a “messenger of hope”.
Bad news about our kids can happen anytime, and sometimes it is shocking. Broken bones, hospital stays are other maladies that plague our children leave us pleading with God for help. We have nowhere else to turn.
Job had a similar experience to that of Jordan Burnham. He was a wealthy man, his kids had it all, and Job constantly went to God on their behalf.
On one occasion though, while Job was in the middle of the mother of all bad days, things got worse. A strong wind came in from the desert and collapsed the house of his oldest son, killing several of Job’s children. Job’s response was similar to Earl Burnham’s:
“Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away;
may the name of the LORD be praised. (Job 1:21).”
As Earl faced the long recovery of his son, Job too had to face a ton of ordeals after the death of his children. Eventually, however, God gave him ten new children to replace his lost loved ones (Job 42:12-13).
Life can be really hard, and bad things do indeed happen to good people. When they do, it seems that thing will never get better. We almost expect that they won’t. Indeed, for some people, unfortunately, they don’t.
Yet, God does not operate on the basis of a formula. He has His purposes. Sometimes things do turn around for us, and He takes our disasters and makes things ten times better than they were before.
Whether God changes our fortunes in this life or not, when He deals with us as He did with Earl Burnham and Job, it can be a humbling experience. Such occasions take us one step further to really knowing God. Isn’t that what it’s all about, regardless of the outscome of our personal dilemmas?