All of us have felt the frustration of losing something rather important to us, such as a set of keys or that matching sock. But more devastating is facing the loss of something or someone that’s very important. Losses such as financial security, a marriage, a child, a dream, or our health, can knock us down. I have recently experienced a significant loss. A few weeks ago while visiting my mother who has dementia, I became aware that the mother and relationship I’ve known all my life has been lost.
How can we get through a significant loss and bounce back with strength and joy? Here are two biblical principles for facing a loss:
1. Sadness and grieving are for a season. There are predictable emotional and physical effects of deep loss that can occur such as guilt, anger, pain, lack of focus, and energy, disorganization, and sadness. To go through these is normal and not a sign of weakness. When God spared Epaphroditus’ life the godly apostle Paul said he was also spared “sorrow upon sorrow.”
Loss produces sadness. Solomon wisely wrote there is a time to weep and a time to mourn (Ecclesiastes 3:4). It is not helpful to rush a grieving person through this season. It’s like trying to grow a vegetable garden before the cold season has ended. It interferes with the deep work and healing of God. It can convey that sadness and therefore the one in a saddened state are unacceptable.
We can demonstrate acceptance of them through our presence. “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18. Our presence can aid in their healing.
2. Loss can lead to riches. II Corinthians 4:16-18 reminds us that God can turn the losses of this life into eternal gain. When the New England Patriots lost head coach Bill Parcells with his decision to retire, the team’s future was faced with uncertainty. When we lose someone or something that has been a vital part of our lives or dreams, we too will have the challenge of facing the future with uncertainty and feeling disadvantaged. Though future times will be different, God promises to provide us with new riches that will give a full rich life. The richness of our lives doesn’t depend on a specific treasure, it depends on our God and our walk with Him.
The New England Patriots continued to play in the NFL the following seasons even after losing their Super Bowl coach. A few years later they returned and won the Super Bowl because of the leadership of the Patriot Organization. God our leader will give us what we need to continue to “suit up” and “play” in life and we will win, because of Him.
Prayer and Praises: Our daughter Ginny is in Geneva, Switzerland, for a year, please pray for her to connect with some vibrant believers. Please pray for those we see who’ve suffered losses to have strengthened spirits and to make wise choices. Please pray for The Harbor, a Sunday fellowship, Debbie and I are spearheading for people who aren’t connected in a church body. It’s open to anyone. Call us if you’d like more information.
Something Special: The annual Lighthouse Christmas Home Tour will be December 6. The homes and homeowners are very special. Please pray for good weather, good attendance, and that it will again be a special Christmas experience. Tickets are $10 and the proceeds will help Lighthouse remain a beacon of hope for folks in rough or unclear waters. Call our office for information.