LIFE AND LOSS

Loss….something that everyone deals with at some point in their lives; and everyone deals with loss differently. In this year of COVID related separation from so much of our normal lives; loss has become a way of life: loss of employment/income, loss of being able to freely move about in our world without censor, loss of the society of family and friends, loss of good will and respect towards others.

Thousands of people die every year for many different reasons, and while death will come to us all in this world, too many have died prematurely because of bad habits, accidents, sicknesses; the list is long and depressing. Many in this world die every year because of unsafe drinking water….; a great many of the people who died from COVID were already compromised in their immune systems….heart disease, lung issues, kidney failure(often from unhealthy lifestyles)….and old age. The ads promoting “be safe” stay home, wear a mask, stay at least six feet apart, seem more like propaganda to me than good health practices. There’s practicing good preventive measures for our health’s sake and then there is oppressive government interference in our daily lives. A year of government controlled suppression of our economic and religious freedoms is unwarranted and uncalled for. Educate, inform and even limit some contact, but to isolate us to the degree that businesses close, families are separated and government dictates our worship of God is completely unacceptable.

I think these losses of so many of our freedoms in the name of “safety” is particularly heinous. I wonder what kind of world my children and grandchildren will be living in after I am gone. It is my hope that we will revert to our former freedom from government interference in our daily lives after the upcoming election; that we will be able to regain our status as the leader of the “free world”. The kinds of losses we have suffered at the hands of governors who have no real regard for the people in their respective states are not the kind of losses I ever thought I would have to endure (dictating our private gatherings for Thanksgiving and Christmas….really?).

Personal losses are hard enough without having to see the quality of life in our nation going down. The loss of a granddaughter who would be sixteen this coming December, the loss of mother and father, the loss of friends who died too soon; and the loss of the society of my children who have moved far away, is at times, very hard to bear. I have a friend whose husband passed away four years ago and she is finally reaching the place where she can handle the anniversary of that sad day. The other day I was listening to a song by Zach Williams and Dolly Parton called “There was Jesus”. One line says “all those lonely roads I have traveled”, and I just started to cry because suddenly I was missing my daughter.

She moved to Colorado several years ago. Prior to her move we spent a lot of time together, but she and her husband wanted to move and I encouraged her to follow her heart;to not worry about leaving her mother behind. Still it has been hard; harder than anything I have ever had to face and I know it has been hard on her as well. They are doing well and they love it out there, but being so far apart hurts in ways that neither of us anticipated. I have lost these past years with my granddaughters after being a huge part of their lives from birth. Losses….. don’t always mean death. For God, death just means separation…..; we were created to be eternal, but when sin came in it “separated” us from Him and if we die without ever receiving the salvation that He provided through His son Jesus Christ, then we are separated from Him eternally in Hell. It’s not His choice for us, but our refusal to choose Him that determines whether we will be separated from Him eternally or not. Thankfully, I am able to visit my daughter and her girls and have them visit me. This comforts me.

Isa. 61:1-3 “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted. He has sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to captives, and freedom to prisoners; to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn, to grant those who mourn in Zion, giving them a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting, so they will be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.”

Loss happens…..in so many ways, but God brings us joy.

Ps. 126:5 “Those who sow in tears shall reap with joyful shouting.”

Neh. 8:10 “….the joy of the Lord is my strength.”

No I never walk alone
Never walk alone
You're always there
In the waiting, in the searching
In the healing, in the hurting
Like a blessing buried in the broken pieces
Every minute, every moment
Where I've been and where I'm going
Even when I didn't know it
Or couldn't see it.
There was Jesus
There was Jesus
There was Jesus
There was Jesus

written by Zach Williams and performed by Zach William and Dolly Parton

No we are never alone when we walk with Jesus. He knows about loss. He knows about life. He tells us that He has set before us death and life….and then He says: “Choose life”. (Deu. 30:19)

Yes, this has been a hard year. Loneliness and depression are our constant companions, but we don’t have to dwell with on them; no matter our situation or circumstances. We can choose joy…..the JOY of the LORD. And we can choose LIFE. We can choose to rejoice when sorrow overshadows us. And we can declare that the Lord is good. That this is the day that the LORD has made and we will rejoice in it.

My daughter and her family were able to visit this past summer and for four glorious days my house was filled with the voices of those who are so dear to me. Noise and chaos reigned and I loved every minute of it. I am so grateful for all my children and my grandchildren and I thank God for them every day. When the grief of loss and separation overcome me, I stop and thank God for the joy that was mine for the time I had with all those who are now gone from this world…..and for those who are far away, separated only by miles and not by death. I have had so much love in my life and I am grateful for God’s wondrous blessings of family and friends…..even when they were gone before I was ready.

And when the tears fall I know that…..yes, there is Jesus; right where He always is, in my heart and in my soul; that the Holy Spirit comforts and strengthens me. Thank you, Lord; that on my darkest day….there was Jesus.

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