This has been a week for loss. It’s been a week for loss of the most heart-wrenching kind: loss of life, loss of respect, loss of control, loss of relationship, loss of testimony, loss of trust, loss of ___ (fill in your own blank here).
If you are the one who’s lived the loss of life for one you love or loss of trust and relationship, I’m not going to gloss that over with platitudes. If you are the one who has lived the loss this week, I’m not here to give you pat answers and tell you that the road back from the bad decisions (yours or theirs) will be easy.
If you are the one who’s lived the loss this week, I will tell you this:
- I’m glad you’re still here.
- I’m aware that the pain you feel right now seems to pulsate in your soul in a way that feels like it may take over your whole existence.
- I’m aware there is nothing I can say to just wipe the hurt and the anger away and give you a clean slate again.
- I’m aware…and more than that, GOD is aware.
- You are not alone. (see the point just above this one)
If you are the one who is living the loss of a loved one’s life this week, I am so sorry. It can seem so final and the opportunities to feel overwhelmed are numerous. Don’t think you have to be the strong one all the time. Grief is natural and right. Don’t be afraid to treat yourself gently in the days ahead. Allow others to do some things for you; it allows them to grieve with you. Remember that God is not surprised by your circumstance or your loss or the emotions you will feel in the weeks and months to come. Take the time to work through those things as necessary.
If you are the one who’s made the bad decision, you have more choices to make. You don’t have to live where you are right now for the rest of your life. There is a road back into right relationship with your family, your spouse, your friends and your God. (And if He’s not YOUR God right now, there’s a way to remedy that, as well.) The road back will not be an easy one on either side of the bad decision. While God—and some of the people around you–will forgive you immediately, the people you hurt in the process are going to take more time to heal. When dealing with other humans, forgiveness and a rebuilding of trust aren’t cheap or simple or overnight. They take time…sometimes much more time than you could ever imagine. It is a price worth paying…on either side of the coin.
If you are the one who is living in the aftermath of another’s bad decision, you also have choices to make. Make them carefully. As you do so, remember the bad choices you’ve made yourself; it may help you with the grace you’ll need to extend. As one who has trod on more than just the edge of God’s grace and patience at times, I’m here to tell you that as convoluted as things appear right now, there is hope. Restoration is possible. I’ve seen it. I’ve walked that road with others who have made the difficult choice to go that route.
If you are the one who is living the loss this week, you may remember that I said that I wouldn’t try to placate you with platitudes. What I’m going to say next may sound like one to some of you, but I promise you that it really isn’t: “In the beginning, God…” Genesis 1:1.
If ever there was a time when you needed the One who pulled order out of chaos and created beauty out of a void, this is it! Don’t be shy about calling (or yelling!) out His name and asking for help. Don’t think this is the approach of simpletons—faith is a tough business, but when your faith is rightly placed, your life will be far more fulfilling, no matter what circumstance you find yourself living. THIS is the time to go back to the very beginning and start fresh. This is the time…right now…today. “Living the loss” doesn’t have to become your whole life’s story, but if you’re really going to overcome the loss and regain some sense of equilibrium, you are going to need some HELP! His name is Jesus…and He knows more about loss–and restoration–than you or I could ever imagine, so if you’re really in need of some help to get through this time of life, He’s the One.
“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the Lord
for the display of his splendor.” Isaiah 61:1-3 (NIV)