LIFE AFTER LOSS
No matter who we are, each of us is going to experience loss in our lives. It is inescapable and unavoidable. Often it strikes suddenly, without warning leaving us dazed and shattered by what just happened to us. It might be the loss of a job or the loss of finances. It might be the loss of a loved one or the loss of our health. It might be the loss of friends, or reputation, or the loss of our home. It might even be the loss of our marriage and family.
I have personally experienced some of these great losses in my life. At the time some of them occurred it genuinely felt like my life was over, done, that I would simply never recover or ever know life, or experience blessings again. Some of the losses I experienced weren’t just one-and-done, but a loss that continued dragging on for days, weeks, months, and years! Making it extremely difficult to even catch my breath, or see out from under the crumbling rubble of my life.
I am writing this today from a place of great empathy and tenderness to so many of you who have or are experiencing your own great losses. Who feel that there will never be a thing called life for you on the road ahead. My prayer is that you will find hope again, to know there is life after loss.
For memorial day this year, I spent much of the day watching footage of WW2. I was stunned by the brutality, the savagery, and the loss inflicted on Poland, and Great Britain. I watched in disbelief as London was bombed night after night after night for 57 nights straight. By the end of the first day alone, 337 tons of bombs were dropped on the city of London. This continued for 57 more nights. Tens of thousands of people lost everything, their homes, their possessions, food, water, safety, I mean it’s just heaps, after heaps of rubble, and Britain was facing it all alone. No one to rescue them. They had to get up, face the day and their lives when everything around them was destroyed. Putting myself in their shoes, as a father with small children, it just boggles the mind to imagine living through that.
I watched as Poland was crushed, devastated, Warsaw completely shattered, and destroyed! Millions of Poles were slaughtered by the Germans invading from the west, and the Russians from the east. Millions of civilians were savagely murdered, and millions lost every single thing they owned but for the clothes on their backs. They are wandering dazed through the streets, fleeing for their lives.
Then the Jews, God’s people, the Jews. It is absolutely overwhelming to the senses the barbarity, the savage brutality they suffered, the colossal injustice, of having everything they owned stolen from them. They were forced from their homes, starved, beaten, their families ripped apart. They were shoved into cattle cars, many died unable to breathe. They were shipped off to death camps, systematically tortured, starved and slaughtered. Treated with the worst indignities ever inflicted on human beings. What they suffered, the losses individual Jewish people endured are mind-boggling!
How does anyone ever, ever come back from these losses? How does anyone live through them, or muster the will to go on? How does a person recover? How does a person ever conceive there could possibly be life after such anguish, sorrow, devastation, injustice, loss and so much death and destruction?
As I watched this all unfold, I was reminded that it was WW2 that gave birth to the Nation of Israel. Thousands and thousands of Jews miraculously survived WW2, the death camps, having suffered and lost everything dear and precious to them. Hundreds of thousands of them miraculously made their way to the ancient land of Israel, and began a new life living in Kibbutz, working together, planting crops and fields. Against all the odds stacked against them, the horrors and losses they endured, 2 years after the end of WW2 in 1947, Israel declared itself a nation, and just look what has happened since that time! One of the films I watched, a true story about WW2, the Jews making their way to their new homeland after suffering horrific losses stated, Our revenge will be to live! To go make a new life in the only safe place left for us on earth, Israel!
As a Christian, as a faith relative of the Jewish people, I cannot help but see the mighty hand of God in these unbelievable events. God brought them resurrection after so much death! God brought them so much life after such unimaginable losses. God kept his word to the Jews and gathered them back to their ancient homeland by the millions. God gave them life after devastating loss.
Walking through my own painful losses the Lord revealed to me this extremely valuable insight and perspective.
Never forget one of the great lessons of Job: There’s life after loss. God still does very good things for us after loss. Job lost everything, including his 10 children, all who died at the same time, in one crushing blow, yet God brought him great life after his terrible loss. Job, after all he suffered and lost, chose to embrace the life God gave him after his terrible losses. After death, there is always a resurrection to be had for those who believe.
This is the New Testament commentary on Job. This is what God imparts to us in order to help our own expectations. To understand why there is reason to hope when enduring our own extreme, difficult trials, tribulations, and losses. There is good coming. Why? Because God is full of compassion and mercy.
James 5:11 NASB
We count those blessed who endured. You have heard of the endurance of Job and have seen the outcome of the Lord’s dealings, that the Lord is full of compassion and is merciful.
You know we call those blessed [happy, spiritually prosperous, favored by God] who were steadfast and endured [difficult circumstances]. You have heard of the patient endurance of Job and you have seen the Lord’s outcome [how He richly blessed Job]. The Lord is full of compassion and is merciful.
Time and time again, I have seen the outcome of the Lord’s dealings with me, and he has always been full of compassion and mercy to me. Each and every time, God has given me life after loss.
It is true of course that God’s compassion, and mercy come in different forms and in different ways. I do not expect my life to be exactly as it was before 2018 and those devastating losses. But I trust the same God, to be who God was to me for all those 43 years before 2018, that the God of life and resurrection, would raise me from the dead, bring me life once again, in some other brand new way.
Hang on dear friends. Keep your faith! Hold onto God. Don’t give up. Forge ahead, and keep your resolve. God will bring you life after your loss!
Helping you become a Strong Disciple,
Because of Jesus,
Pastor Mark Darling