Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Gain of Loss

(For Ross, and for his Mom and Dad)

One of our dear Orange Moon friends is currently in the process of selling the home of his parents, both of whom have passed away in recent years. The house was purchased just months before he was born, and so he is also bidding farewell to the primary place of his childhood. A multitude of fond memories must doubtless fill our brother's heart, along with the pain of parting that always accompanies the loss of precious people and precious things.

As we grow older, such experiences of loss become more and more common. We even learn to expect them, although we also try not to think about them too much. This is as it should be because the challenges of today are always meant to be our focus. However, loss always looms on the horizon, and only the born again believer in the Lord Jesus Christ can view this challenging reality in terms of both joy and sadness. We know that the pain of loss is a necessity in our present existence because it prepares and motivates us to seek that which we can never lose.

"We look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal" (II Corinthians 4:18).
"Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, and today, and and forever" (Hebrews 13:8).

Believers are blessed with the marvelous capacity to appreciate both the blessings of life, and the loss of them. We hold all things lightly, enjoy them as we do, and most of all, give thanks to our Heavenly Father for the ongoing generosity so beautifully proclaimed by the hymnwriter: "Out of His infinite riches in Jesus He giveth and giveth and giveth again." When the time comes for things to pass, we rejoice that even as the tears fall from our faces, a great light illuminates our loss. That light declares that the one thing we cannot afford to lose is the one thing we cannot lose. "I am with you always" promised the Lord Jesus, and the things which slip from our grasp direct us toward the blessed One who so loves our hearts that He will not leave them once He has entered (Matthew 28:20: Hebrews 13:5). We wouldn't know such heavenly wonder apart from earthly loss, and the comforting heart and hand of our Father would be far less the balm of our soul.

By the end of our earthly sojourn, we will have lost all. But along the way of our sacrifice, eternal glories will have been gained that will be with us forevermore. We will have discovered the true Life of our lives, and the joy of our hearts. We will have learned of Someone who loves us beyond all imagining. We will have found Him to be perfectly true and faithful. We will learn of Calvary, and of the loss there that forever imprinted the wounds of nails and a spear in the body of our Savior. In the pages of Scripture, we will hear the echoes of His lonely voice crying out into the darkness, "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" (Matthew 27:46). And we will know that our losses, real and agonizing as they are, pale in comparison to those known in the heart of the triune God when the Lord Jesus gave all for our redemption. Indeed, our God knows about loss, and He is therefore perfectly able and willing to comfort us as the things of earth pass away. Such wonderful truth and assurance forms within us the knowledge that loss itself is gain, the gain of knowing that if we lose all, but God remains, we still have all.

"For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us."
(Romans 8:18)

"Our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory."
(II Corinthians 4:17)

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