We all experience loss in our lives. Sometimes the loss is small like a missed opportunity for lunch with a close friend. Other times, the loss is monumental like the passing of a loved one. I ran across a quote about loss that I really appreciated and keep handy to remind myself and others, that even in the midst of monumental loss there is hope, there is purpose, and there is God.
“Catastrophic loss by definition precludes recovery. It will transform us or destroy us, but it will never leave us the same. There is no going back to the past…It is not therefore true that we become less through loss – unless we allow the loss to make us less, grinding our soul down until there is nothing left…Loss can also make us more. I did not get over the loss of my loved ones; rather, I absorbed the loss into my life…until it became part of who I am. Sorrow took up permanent residence in my soul and enlarged it…One learns the pain of others by suffering one’s own pain, by turning inside oneself, by finding one’s own soul…However painful, sorrow is good for the soul…the soul is elastic, like a balloon. It can grow larger through suffering.” -Gerald Sittser
I can think of no greater example of loss in the Bible than Job. Known as the most faithful man of God of his time, he had everything going for him; family, friends, and wealth. But he lost it all. And though he didn’t pull punches when he told God what he was feeling, he never stopped believing that God was going to bring purpose through all that happed. In fact, these are his words in Job 1:21 (CEV), “We bring nothing at birth; we take nothing with us at death. The Lord alone gives and takes. Praise the name of the Lord!” Job allowed his loss to enlarge his soul. He took strength from loss instead of loss taking strength from him. What an amazing testament to what loss can do for us if we search for God’s purpose through it instead of our own!
Be a witness,