Here we are, smack in the middle of Lent—a season that invites us to consider our mortality and the challenges of human life. I believe that some of the greatest challenges of human life are the losses we face, repeatedly. They are large and small. They can be life-changing, earth-shaking, or simply minor annoyances.
We lose the people we love—of course, that’s one of the most obvious losses. Throughout life, we also experience loss on a smaller level. We lose a key or a precious heirloom. We lose our independence—sometimes it’s temporary, like a broken limb, and other times it’s permanent. We lose anticipated joys. I recently “lost” my vacation. I didn’t get away when I thought I would, because my aunt became critically ill. I decided that being present with her and my uncle was more important. They have no children (a loss for my aunt). Amid losing my vacation, I also lost an opportunity to relax with Ken and to spend a few days on Sanibel Island with my parents. Loss can be like an onion, layer after layer peeled away.
When we are young and have children, we lose their infancy, and then their toddler years, and eventually (we hope), they go off to make their own way. Our relationships change and we feel the loss and the adjustment that is needed. We may lose a job or a dream of what we thought our life would be. We may lose a house or simply the hope for owning our own home.
The point isn’t to simply count our losses. The point is to live through them and into them and find joy amid them. God is with us, in and through all our losses—the tangible ones and the ones that are hopes and dreams never realized. God redeems our losses in ways that are seen and unseen.
God is faithful through our losses.
Consider the words from the hymn, “Great Is Thy Faithfulness,” based on words from the book of Lamentations: “Morning by morning new mercies I see.” This is what we are encouraged to hold onto, and as we move toward Easter, we are invited again to see the empty tomb and know that God is victorious over all our losses, even death. Thanks be to God!