Loss

Something Happens…

Something happens in the midst of loss. Beautiful things grow despite the devastation.

 

Photo Credit: Netherlands – Free images on Pixabay

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Beautiful Things

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It’s hard to believe anything good could come from the ravages of a horrific storm. We see the wreckage, the ruins. We feel the sting of loss. Nothing can minimize the toll such destruction takes on our lives.

Dare we question God, wondering how he of such great power could allow such immense devastation? If he is good, how is it possible for such tragedy to terrorize the earth? Could it be that creation itself has joined humanity in its rebellion against the creator? And if so, why does he not exert his control over all his hands have made?

These questions have haunted even the most devout of faith throughout history, weaving intricately through verses of psalms and prophets alike.

If you’ve ever felt alone in your suffering, read the Bible. Some of the greatest heroes endured the deepest of suffering—from slavery to poverty, persecution to famine, political oppression and injustice. Yet all emerged with one resounding refrain, “For the Lord is good, and his mercy endures forever.”

This, written from wilderness caves, exile, captivity, and prison cells. This, written from the darkest of pits. How could such a bold declaration of God’s goodness arise amidst the worst of life’s horrors?

Maybe a rephrasing of the initial question will shed light on the answer. Instead of asking how a good God could allow such suffering, we can ask: if God were not good, could anything of worth come from all the bad we experience?

Somehow, humanity has survived for decades, centuries, millennia, despite all the evil that opposes life itself. Somehow, we have endured. Somehow, we have overcome. Somehow, we have chosen to keep on living.

I would think that if the earth were immersed in such utter darkness and evil, life would not prevail apart from the power of good, which is ultimately the power of God. Apart from the goodness of God, sheer darkness would set in with no hope of light.

Maybe storms themselves come to strip away all that is not of value, so that what is of greatest value can emerge. This is not to devalue lives lost in the process in any way. But something happens in the midst of loss. Beautiful things grow despite the devastation.

Against the backdrop of our country’s most destructive hurricane, a people marked by racial tension and strife have come to remember things of greater importance. My pastor said it’s as if the storm washed away all that’s not of God—the division, the hatred, the bitterness, the pride, the greed. A people divided have come together in recognition of what is truly of value. The grounds have been watered for new life to spring up, in its time.

I don’t claim to have everything all figured out. I would never consider myself a theological expert on suffering. But I will say that it would be impossible for anything good to come out of all the bad if God himself were not good. Because only a good God can make something beautiful out of the ashes of loss.

 

Photo Credit: File:Flickr – paul bica – after the storm.jpg – Wikimedia Commons

Life and Loss

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There is always another side to our pain.  There is always a place where we will break through the clouds and see the sun—if only we will lift up our eyes.  There will always be a time when we come out the other side of our dark tunnel and find it was leading us somewhere far greater than we ever imagined. #ThereIsHope

The Gift of Loss

Blog_FlowersIt was the perfect job. The pay was low but sufficient, the hours enough to keep me busy but not overwhelmed. And the opportunity to stay home with my kids outweighed the benefits I didn’t receive. Everything was good until the organization I was working for unexpectedly discontinued funding for the contract.

Fear and depression threatened to take hold. What would we do without the extra income? Where would I find another job that wouldn’t detract from my family? And why did this happen so suddenly?

Somewhere in the midst of it, I stopped checking my email for word of a renewed contract. It was time to move on. As good as the job was, I had to admit it wasn’t my life’s passion. What had come as an unexpected storm was truly a wake up call.

In a scene C.S. Lewis’ The Horse and His Boy, the main characters are chased by a lion they’re certain is bent on destruction. It’s not until journey’s end that they realize the lion was chasing them to their destiny while protecting them from the real enemy. In life, trials can be like that lion—pushing us out of our comfort zones, into the place we truly belong while protecting us from that which drains our life.

Looking back, I now see how losing that job was truly a gift. It pushed me to reassess my life, my goals, and my desires. As a result, I’ve had an abundance of needful, quality time with my children along with the opportunity to pursue my passions of writing and teaching. Had my work contract continued indefinitely, I might have stayed on, going through the motions—content, yet unfulfilled.

Maybe you’re in a similar situation, with fear and depression threatening to take hold. My prayer is that you’ll find a gift in the midst of your loss. Take this time to consider what’s really worth living for. Use this season to find your purpose and establish your priorities. Loss can be an opportunity if you let it.

“I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth…he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.” (Psalm 121:1-2, 7-8)