54. Experiencing and Recovering from Loss

by Apr 1, 20242024

Losses are something we will all experience at numerous times throughout life. For some, loss occurs when they are young, but for most, loss tends to increase as we approach our later years. No matter when it comes, however, loss is difficult. Writing about something that is so personal is a delicate task and there is no way I could adequately cover this topic in a few hundred words. So, please give grace and look for something that might help you when you face your own losses.

The more unprepared we are for loss, the harder it is. And when it does come, it can devastate a life. It is the great equalizer. It can cause us to question our core beliefs and understanding, as they are “tested in the fire” of losing something we held precious.

Acknowledging the Impact

It would be a long list if I attempted to capture all the kinds of loss that can be experienced. Their commonality, however, it that they are all profound and affect us in many ways and to differing degrees. If given permission, loss has the power to literally paralyze an individual. Loss can significantly alter the trajectory of our life. It can drive us to serious depression and paralyze us from pursuing God’s purposes.

I want to respect the difficulty of loss and not underestimate or downplay the struggle. Often as Christians, we can be too quick to offer Bible verses or theological “solutions”. Though perhaps offered in sincerity, they can still be perceived as disrespectful to the person’s pain and hardship. Grief is a complex emotion about which many, much more qualified than I, have written. What I do know as a fact, however, is that facing loss apart from spiritual truth can give loss the power to debilitate and immobilize us from moving forward in our lives as they are meant to be lived.

Standing on the Promises

So, it’s important to reckon with truths that perhaps we haven’t completely embraced. Let me begin with the promise of eternity. In my opinion, it is essential to believe in God’s promise of eternity as the reward for those who put their trust in Jesus. When we believe He died on the cross and rose from the dead, thus paying the price for our salvation, we can have the assurance there is an inheritance awaiting us when our days on earth come to an end. This is either true or it’s not. As followers of Jesus, we choose to believe that everything He said is true. John 14:1 assures us, “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself, that where I am, there you may be also” (KJV). These words were spoken to the disciples as Jesus was nearing his betrayal and He knew they would be vulnerable and worried as they were about to witness the end of His earthly life.

Believing in God’s promise of eternity guarantees us that we will see, once again and for all eternity, our loved ones who put their trust in Jesus. This promise also states that there will no longer be any sorrow or suffering. So, whatever losses we have experienced on this side of eternity will be washed away by the new life that will be given to us. Friends, heaven will be a million times better than anything we could imagine!

A second important truth to hold in the face of loss is the Bible’s perspective on what this life includes. Our world is broken. We are broken. And none escape the consequences that come from living amid the fallout. We see it in innumerable ways. Even in man’s quest for peace, comfort, pleasure, and control, we invent things that are convenient but poison our environment. We create things that taste good but are bad for our health. We drive too fast, drink too much, text while we drive, stay up too late, overeat, stay in the sun too long, and attempt daring feats. I will stop there, but you get the point. The world has a way of bringing trials and pain that everyone experiences. There is no escape.

Yet, at the same time, our bodies have been miraculously formed and most are able to see and hear and experience the wonders God has created. He has placed us in a world with oceans and rivers, majestic mountains, butterflies, and Labrador retrievers – all of which are miraculous and gorgeous! Have you seen what Switzerland looks like?!

Holding the Tension

So, our lives are a mixture of laughter and tears, joy and sorrow, and victory and loss.  As Job said, “Shall we accept good from God and not trouble?” I believe the answer is “no”. We are called to take the good with the bad and continue to praise God through all of it.

Recovering from loss is possible when we embrace eternity, have an accurate perspective of this life, and give thanks for the beauty that remains  – even during our loss. No, it’s not easy. Loss is painful, but we can endure and persevere through the strength God gives. I will end with a favorite quote I believe came from a pastor in Ghana, West Africa. “God is closest to those who need him most.” Now that is a truth worth holding onto!

Lord, help us to cling to You, trust in You, and love You. Through all we face in this life, help us to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that it will all be worth it as eternity unfolds and we are with You forever. Amen.