Lately I have been contemplating loss. The news has been full of stories of great tragedy and human suffering. People have been gunned down by angry men, killed by raging floods and wildfires, and been victims of accidents that might or might not have been avoided. Children have been orphaned. Spouses have been widowed. Health has been decimated by cancer, addiction, and chronic illness.
As I pray for those who are suffering, I think about the losses I have experienced in my fifty-plus years on this earth -- the deaths of my dad and stepdad, my grandparents, and other beloved family members; the loss of jobs (both mine and my husband's); and the disintegration of my own moral compass during a lengthy season of rebellion. I have not suffered poor health, but I have experienced a painful financial reversal and had my heart broken more times than I can count.
One thing I have never lost, though, is my faith in God. On the contrary, my greatest joys have been experienced on the other side of loss.
- When I nearly lost my mind with worry over my wayward teenager, God gave me sanity and peace through the promises of His Word.
- When my husband lost two full-time jobs in 18 months and we found ourselves living on food stamps and the charity of others, God gave us adventure, new jobs, and a truly wonderful life in another state.
- When I chose to give up a job I dearly loved in order to better serve my family, mourning that loss for more than two years, God began healing my marriage and my relationship with my son.
- When I suffered the bewildering heartbreak of a broken relationship with a dear friend, God filled the hole in my heart with His love and unbridled joy.
- Through every loss I have suffered God has taught me valuable lessons and afforded me opportunities to encourage others who are struggling to make sense of their own troubles.
It has been my experience that God doesn't allow us to suffer loss without giving us more of himself. God will turn our tragedies into triumphs, our weeping into laughter, and our mourning into dancing if we will trust Him in our trials.
Whatever you are facing today, know that God is with you. Know that His heart breaks every time He sees you cry and that He longs to comfort you with His grace, peace, and love. The loss you have suffered is not all there is. God is standing on the other side of loss, longing to receive you into His loving embrace and to restore your joy and peace.
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