I clearly remember a time in my late twenties when I was driving with the windows rolled down and had the music blasting as I drove the back roads. I felt immortal and pretty comfortable with life. At that time we had a sweet family of four and really, the hardest thing for me that I had walked through at that point was the loss of our sweet baby at 14 weeks. Now here I sit a decade later with a family of seven, the sting of miscarriage behind us, with the windows still down, music going, and still taking the back roads, but more aware than ever of our mortality. I’ve never had a more sobering year than this one as I experienced my very own Good Friday full of loss and confusion as we cared for my Dad in hospice and saw him off to heaven.
The thing is, loss is inevitable this side of heaven and it’s not so much “if” it will happen, but “when” it will happen. Each and every one of us are faced with different kinds of loss as we live out life. Loss of a friend, loss of a first love, loss of a job, loss of a life you imagined for yourself, loss of something you never even had, loss of a friends, spouse or a parent. When something is taken from you before you are ready, there is this rub…a chafing of sorts. Your faith is challenged in such a way that bottom line, you are faced with the question, “Is God truly good in all of this?” These experiences expose the doubting Thomas parts of our hearts that have never been faced with the real opportunity to fully rely on Christ in the emptiness. Life and breath is given from the Almighty and ultimately Romans 8 says,
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)
Can that be true in my current situation even though THIS doesn’t feel good to me? Absolutely! God’s purpose and plan was established before the beginning of time and our whole story is no surprise to Him.
This God—his way is perfect; the word of the LORD proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him. (Psalm 18:30)
Each type of loss effects us differently, but the truths are still the same. It exposes the doubt and unbelief in our hearts. The pain and discomfort reveal the greatest need we have, which is truly God Himself. We can’t move forward just by pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps and conjuring up “enough” faith to do it, but we can move forward because of the object of our faith.
“As believers God invades those hard things that we battle and though it’s still a battle by faith, it is in the object of our faith that we find our strength.” -Dave Leandre
We are never alone in our loss, though it can feel like some of the loneliest times. Our God has first hand experience and knows exactly what the feeling of loss is like. 1 John 4:9 says,
In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him.
God’s only son was given, and His earthly life was taken. There was separation for a time between the Father and the Son as Jesus took on the sins of the whole world, but God came to redeem and He will come again to redeem the brokenness in this world. He rose again the third day conquering death and the grave. THAT is the power of the one true God, Praise Jesus!
We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. (Romans 6:9)
So as believers, we have an incredible hope! This hope is found in the resurrected King! This means, as believers, that though physical death and loss still happens here in this broken world, there is eternity to look forward to and a spiritual life beyond the grave.
So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. (2 Corinthians 4:16)
He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the Lord has spoken. It will be said on that day, “Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us. This is the Lord; we have waited for him; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.” (Isaiah 25:8-9)
As believers we do not have to grieve over our losses like those with no hope. We have a loving Father who understands our grief and never leaves us or forsakes us, but meets us in our unbelief and comforts us just like a good Father would.
But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. (I Thes. 4:13)
It is human to wonder, question, and to not understand when loss and hardship come. As believers, may we be faithful to take these doubts, fears, and tears right to our Heavenly Father. We may need to do this over and over, yet He is gracious and quick to remind us of His truth that empowers us to move forward by faith. Though we experience earthly loss, there is great gain in eternity. When you are faced with your good Friday, remember that the resurrection is coming and that because of Jesus and the gospel we have a hope that surpasses this life and reaches into the eternal life to come.
The Spirit of God has made me; the breath of the Almighty gives me life. (Job 33:4)
About Janell Sorensen: Janell is a follower of Jesus, a wife to her best friend David, and a mother to five gifts. She has a heart for women, women’s ministry, and the study of God’s Word. You can find her most days sitting at her farm table schooling her kids, telling punny jokes, and resting in the beauty and grace of her race because of Jesus. She occasionally writes at janellsorensen.wordpress.com.