With sin came loss, the loss of innocence, the loss of relationship, the loss of place, and the loss of God's presence.
"Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. So He drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life" (Genesis 3:23-24).
Life will take much from us, sometimes inevitably, sometimes unnecessarily. In many cases, great pain accompanies our farewell to things, opportunities, dreams, places, health, and most of all, people. We will feel the void and emptiness that ensues, regardless of how well we know our Lord, or how decisively we trust and submit to Him. The Lord Jesus Christ felt it on the cross of Calvary, His apostles testified to the sorrows of loss, and all the faithful saints of the ages and of the present would tell us that the Apostle Paul testified accurately when he confessed to being "sorrowful, yet always rejoicing" (II Corinthians 6:10). Loss wounds us, often deeply, as tethers are torn when things or people leave us.
I think of God Himself whenever this subject comes to heart and mind. He knows loss in far greater measure than any human heart will ever comprehend. His sacrifice was voluntary, as He sent His beloved Son away from Heaven and unto a world that not recognize Him. Humanity would ultimately reject Him to the degree of nailing Him to a cross of shame, agony, forsakenness, and death. Moreover, Calvary would render the Lord Jesus stripped bare of His Father and the Holy Spirit's presence: "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" (Matthew 27:46). The Father also willingly and for our sake lost His Son by laying upon Him "the iniquity of us all," and then smiting Him with the full fury of His wrath against unrighteousness (Isaiah 53:6). What would such sacrifice feel like in the hearts of eternal Beings so united that Three were always One, and the One would always be Three? We cannot know. We can only be sure that the real pain of our losses cannot begin to span the measure of what it meant when loss - again, for our sakes - invaded and pervaded the being of God with unimaginable sorrow.
When loss entered human experience, our Creator had already purposed that the same reality would enter the Divine experience. Scripture depicts the Lord Jesus as "the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world" (Revelation 13:8). Torn tethers characterize God's heart no less than our own, and actually, far more. Far more. Thus, during times of loss, we commit our hurting hearts to One who fully knows the pain we feel. He knows. He can also do something about it. Scripture refers to the Holy Spirit as "the Comforter." Paul affirmed our Lord as "the God of all comfort." The writer of Hebrews declared the Lord Jesus to be our "merciful and faithful High Priest" whose throne of grace offers help "in time of need" (John 14:26; Hebrews 2:17; 4:16). He is the Lord who chose to know loss in order be what we need Him to in be when the tethers of our hearts are torn. We must believe this about Him because it is true, and because such awareness leads us to bring our hurting hearts to Him in time of loss. Most importantly, we must know such Truth to be true because it reveals God's wondrous heart to us. The Lord of love became the Lord of loss in order to save us from our sins, and to bind torn tethers based not only on the perfection of Divine wisdom, but also the mercy of Divine goodness. He knows. God knows loss, not only in principle, but in experience…
"He is… a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief."
Weekly Memory Verse
I will walk before the Lord in the land of the living.