Signposts: Daily Devotions

Saturday, May 17

He has put my family far from me, and my acquaintances are wholly estranged from me. My relatives and my close friends have failed me...
—Job 19:13-14

If you’ve ever created a timeline of your life, then you know that losses can be important markers of both change and growth. When a parent dies, for example, you might discover that you are suddenly the “older generation,” the one to whom family members turn for stability and strength. Similarly, the loss of a job can mean re-casting your identity, sometimes creating bitterness in the process, sometimes leading to a life with greater depth.

One of the quintessential dramas of loss, the biblical story of Job is the story of us all. Health, family, possessions—one by one they are taken from Job, leading his wife to advise him, none too subtly, to “curse God and die.” His “friends,” too, are disappointments, barraging Job with platitudes and questioning his faith.

While few of us are as unfortunate as Job, suffering so many great losses at once, we all know what it is to lose something we cherish. Perhaps it comes in the form of an illness, robbing us of our good health; a change in circumstances causing a close friend to move away; a slump in the economy resulting in the disappearance of a job. Equally unsettling can be the death of a beloved pet, or the theft of a favorite possession.

Whatever our losses are, they are signposts, indicators of the places in our life where an event caused us to take a particular path. What choices did we make as a result? How did this experience alter our image of ourselves? Of the Divine?


O God, help me to use the losses in my life as a means of understanding my own heart, and let me always know that you are faithful, even in the most difficult of times.

The Signposts for May are written by Susan Hanson and originally appeared on in September 2004.