When our daughter Lindsey was only 2 months old, she had brain surgery to correct a condition called hydrocephalus. At the time, Janine and I knew very little about this disease. We were worried and scared. I had just lost my job and we weren’t sure how we were going to pay for her operation. Quite coincidentally I was reading through the Bible and was in Job 13. I came across his “turning point” in 13:15.
Many people point to Job 13:15 as the turning point in the midst of Job’s misery. Though Job did not have all the answers he was seeking and though God was not acting toward him as Job felt He should, he still makes a remarkable statement of trust: “Though He slay me, I will hope in Him.” He says to God, in a sense, “I don’t understand You. I wish You would show Yourself. You aren’t operating as my friend, but as my enemy. But still… I trust You.” Despite all of the hardship, Job would entrust his soul to the living God. Job staked his entire existence on the Divine companion Who had walked this far with him in life. “He can even kill me!,” Job could shout with confidence, “And yet I will seek hope in no other.”
Contemplating my daughter’s upcoming surgery, I read Job’s words and hoped to pray at his level of devotion. The best prayer I could muster from Scripture was: “I believe, help thou my unbelief.”
On the day of the surgery our church’s three ministers on staff came to be with us. I remember jokingly calling them Job’s three comforters. (They, however, did a much better job than their ancient counterparts. ) They sat across from me for the better part of an hour and listened as I fired angry questions at them. The younger of the three seemed to be most interested in how all the suffering was affecting me. “What is this doing to your faith?” he asked me. From my lips came an unrehearsed and surprising reply: “Though He slay me, I will yet hope in Him.” I felt my pastor was more relieved to hear me say it than even myself, yet… somehow… from that moment… though more sorrow was to come… I felt as though I had made a critical turning point.
I had been skidding down hill for some time and somehow when I made my mind up that I was hanging in with God, for better or worse, it enabled me to stop myself mid slide, to plant a stake, and hold on. I would not turn from my faith. There was no where else I could go to receive the hope I desperately needed.
There comes a point in everyone’s personal tragedy in which they chose to either move forward to healing or backward into bitterness. It is not something that occurs when one is in the early stages of grief (marked by bewilderment, anger and disbelief). But after one accesses the damage and mourns what is lost… a decision has to be made. It is a decision that can’t be rushed and it must be decided with the utmost care and at the appropriate time. But the turning point must come. Otherwise the sufferer misses out on what God will do next… and that would be the real tragedy.