The Sixth Chair

Sunday, January 31, 2021

The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.

—Job 1:21b

Six.  For seven years this was the number of the members of our family.  When we walked into a restaurant, “table for six.”  When we walked into church, make sure that we have room for six.  When we set the table for dinner, six.

Recently, we’ve had a frequent guest at our dinner table, in our car, and in our row at church.  This has brought up feelings for me that I didn’t realize were there until my breath caught when I verbalized the number of places to set at the table.  And then again as tears welled up in my eyes as I walked down the aisle at church, counting 1, 2, 3, 4, 5… 6 chairs.  There are feelings of gratefulness for another person spending time with us but also feelings of deep sadness for the number six that is no longer with us.

This got me thinking about Job and grief and all the things.  I’ve always had a bit of a love/hate relationship with the end of the book of Job.  Yes, God restored his livestock and fortunes and even gave him more children, but those gains did not replace the deep losses that he had experienced.  Nothing fills the hole of the ones who you will forever miss this side of heaven.

The ebb and flow of life is a beautiful thing.  God gives and He takes away.  In all of it, blessed be the name of the Lord.  I’m so thankful for these new people God has brought into our life.  I’m even grateful for the process of the taking away.  My precious girl is healed and whole and waiting for us.  In the meantime, we get to experience new amazing people in our lives, in a new amazing place while still holding on to memory and joys of the past.

In a few very short months, our chair count will change again… and then again… and possibly again.

Don’t waste your time longing for what was before or just waiting for things to change and be the way you want them to be.  Live today.  Look at the blessings of today.  Don’t miss it!

I’m thankful for number six.