Loss is an inevitable part of life. It comes in all shapes and sizes, from the aggravating loss of misplacing your keys to the devastating loss in the death of a spouse. For some losses, such as the keys, we have to blame ourselves. Other times the blame falls on others—the drunk driver who caused the accident. The most painful times are when we want to blame God.
In recent times we’ve watched loss stick up its head for us and many in our lives. Last summer we had to part with the sweet little dog we had loved for twelve years. A friend had her marriage and family snatched away from her. (Though it was a step-family, she had been very close to them.) A former coworker watched his wife lose her valiant fight against a tumor in her brain. Most recently, a young couple, ecstatic over the prospect of twin girls, lost one of them at 32 weeks and but for the quick skills of the doctors would have lost the other one. At every occasion in this little girl’s life, someone will be missing.
Loss hits us in other ways, too. Loss of vision causes confusion, struggle, and sadness. Loss of freedom brings pain, not only emotionally, but sometimes physically. Loss of a limb, or even the temporary use of a limb, can slow our world down in frustrating ways. Loss of an opportunity can set us back and pile up frustration. Loss of a dream can leave a hollow, gaping hole in the spirit.
How we deal with the losses in our lives often defines our character. If we stew, rant, or wail, we may release some emotion—but it seldom changes or improves anything. If we close up, pull into a shell, and hold the rest of the world at bay, we nurse the loss and keep it alive. If we strike out and strike back, we risk destroying relationships and perhaps opportunities.
A strong, foundational faith in God can be an anchor when dealing with loss. Having faith that God knows what will be best frees me to accept a loss without debilitating hopelessness.
I learned something about loss when we brought my precious daddy to our home for what turned out to be the last fifteen days of his life. The better the relationship, the more pain you will suffer when you lose it. Yet I’ve never found anyone willing to trade the good of the relationship for hurting less when it was gone.
May God grant give us strength to face the losses of life with courage, wisdom, and confidence in His divine ability to help. May we deal with them in ways that make us people of God and our world a better place.