Every gift comes with a loss

I am learning to appreciate the gifts in my life that come at a cost — the work of His grace, the diminishing of myself. With every gift from Him there is a loss. It only makes the gift all that more valuable in my eyes. Yes, blessing is training ground too!

Losing is winning

Do you consider yourself a loser today? Has the loss of something you have considered invaluable made you question how you will now get along?

Whether you are struggling with a new inability to trust the people in your life, or a painful distortion of your reputation or a devastating health-reversal, or a tragedy that wounds even your hope in God’s understanding, you are aware of possessing less than you had before.

Loss, unlike anything else in the legend of humanity, brings us into immediate acquaintance with the undeniable reality of our fragility. This position is uncomfortable. We wonder what will become of us when after all we’ve worked for, we have less to hold onto than we had expected.

Yet even with all we may be limply existing without, we must not fail to bring it into comparison with the greatest travesty of our lives — living without Christ; unconscious of  or unconcerned with our lack of the enduring, triumphant life we may have only in Him.

We are left with a decision here — either I cling to Christ though I may still not have understanding to complement faith, or I flee from the reconciliation of the broken to the Healer because I will not base my hopes on the steadfastness of Another.

God groans with you over your loss, but even more than that He grieves for every intimacy of life that you have not yet known. This is the heart by which He prepares for you a table in the place where you can make no provision of real comfort for yourself.

No matter what we lose, we are likely to think it unnecessary — a pain we really didn’t need on top of everything else. But maybe this is the place that we learn to deal with life — beginning with where we are; when we need life the most.

As paradoxical as it may seem, there is a place where death and life intersect. Death is not without meaning, and life is not without victory over our earthly end. When we meet Christ in our loss, we meet the One who is our only Hope because He is the only One who died our death and lives in us that we may always, always know life.

The finality of loss and death and poverty were able to pin their worst sensations and nightmare-realities on Christ. On the cross that would unite the whole world to God — reconnecting the dead with the Life — Christ bid death to steal over Him and drag Him down into the grave.

But, make no mistake here, He would mean nothing to us today — not in our exaltation and surely not in our sorrow — if death had been given permission to prepare Him for His own grave. We reach out to the life that He now offers us because He who had no reason to visit the grave (Himself having no grave marked with His own name that He should occupy) came to us for the express purpose of occupying our grave, fulfilling its demand for a body, so that He might then destroy its power over us with His Resurrection.

Therefore the grave for our physical bodies holds no terror for we who are occupied by the One who has already filled its residence-occupation for us. We now, even as we live, look forward to fully knowing the gift Christ gave us in His death when our final death to sin (that passing out of this life) grants us our first full glimpse of Christ.

Loving God Must Be Nothing Less Than Knowing Pain

Out of greatest loss, the purest gains do spring up. To be committed to know no other thing than Christ, is to have the advantage of knowing more than all these lesser things put together.

Christ knows our emptiness and our apathy towards life and Him, He would simply have us know this — which He then accomplishes through some of the most fiery trials we have come to know.

But, what are the benefits that so motivate this God of love to approach us through such difficult means? They are meeting God, they are knowing God for the One Who transcends all earthly majesty and comfort; they are seeing the emptiness inside too deep to be bridged by mortal effort, but only by divine love.

This is what makes our mortal experience worth completing — God is working in us, on behalf of our greatest happiness, to bring us nearer to His side; to seek for His face, which cleanses our hearts from all God-less pursuits that begin and end in vanity.

Can we deign to thank God for less, to request that He would do less for us, so that we might not be so bound up in Him? Such would be a vain and rebellious limitation on our God. We should grieve His Spirit and hold Him afar off from us.

No, that we would rather He shake us than leave us alone, that He would approach us in our misery, then deny us in our bliss. Nothing less can be knowing God, loving Him with all our hearts.