Tag Archives: hardship

A Closer Walk: Looking At Loss Realistically

I am trying to become more pragmatic about loss; trying to see it more realistically.

In our part of the world loss is treated with shock-n-awe headlines—fires, tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, all banner headline-makers.

But are we seeing loss realistically? And, more importantly, are we seeing it Biblically?

I am beginning to wonder.

Learning to let go of material things is painful.

Heaven is our home.As a Christian I am taught that, while I live in this world, I don’t belong here. It is not my home.

So, if this is not my home, if I am only “passing through” as the old song says… then why do I cling so tightly to the things that can never go with me when I leave?

I mean, let’s face it, we do cling tightly. Don’t we?

Why else be so devastated when we come face-to-face with loss?

And my losses do devastate me. I mean, if I’m honest.

Once upon a time, losing the most menial things could send me into a petulant tizzy. But I am learning that loss is a big part of my journey. Letting go, is an essential skill to traveling light.

Realistically looking at lossIn our western culture, we are encouraged to “travel heavy.” Stuff, and more stuff, advertisers cry to us is our passport to true happiness, prestige, and well-being. But, is it? I don’t know about you, but I am finding that a large volume of “stuff,” gets to be a heavier and heavier burden. In truth, the amount of things that I actually need, is relatively small.

Maybe it’s because I am getting older, and I am realizing that I am closer now to my finish line, than the starting line. When I step back and take a good look, and think about what I claim to believe, I begin to wonder if my losses are not just a natural part of this journey I’m on. Perhaps, to get me more heaven-focused, by necessity, I need to carry things here a bit more loosely.

The idea of realistically accepting tragedy and loss is uncomfortable to me.

And, perhaps, that is precisely the point.

C. S. LewisI will share with you that years ago I was “homeless” for a short time—twice.

It was unthinkable at first. I was stunned that God would let such a thing happen to me. I was angry and frightened. (Who wouldn’t be?) But shall I tell you? Something strange happened through those dark experiences.

With all my “stuff” in storage, and finding myself standing on a sidewalk with no money and one little knapsack, and wondering where I was going to go? I learned firsthand what Paul meant when he wrote,” …I have learned how to get along happily whether I have much or little. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything.” [Phil. 4:11, 12Phil. 4:11, 12
English: World English Bible - WEB

11 Not that I speak in respect to lack, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content in it. 12 I know how to be humbled, and I know also how to abound. In everything and in all things I have learned the secret both to be filled and to be hungry, both to abound and to be in need.

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I also have learned that God is faithful, especially in calamity. He kept me safe. He kept me fed. He kept a roof over my head. Though I found myself an unwelcome guest, sleeping on someone’s floor, more than once.

(My losses made others uncomfortable, too.)

Letting go of what you cannot changeYet, I discovered that all I really NEEDED each day was in that tiny little knapsack.

And, you know what?

Though sometimes uncomfortable it was liberating to learn how little is needed to really get by. I was forced to let go and trust God absolutely and so my emotions about my STUFF changed.

“Letting go” produced a kind of freedom and made me face a surprising and unexpected revelation: ALL CHRISTIANS ARE “HOMELESS!”

Loss is an integral part of this world, but for us, it’s only temporary because you see… we’re not home yet.

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LET IT GO!

Do not fear the clouds as though I had deserted you and left you to the mercy of this storm.

Who makes the clouds? Who creates the storm?

(Is it not I, your Father?)

Then, I say to you, “Fear not.”

I told you, you would go through floods, yes? (Isa. 43:1-4Isa. 43:1-4
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(Well, then?)

But, I say again, “…you will not drown.”

I come in these clouds as easily as in the days of blue skies and soft green meadows.

My child, listen… that thunder and lightening in your circumstances is the rumbling wheels of My chariots. Your deliverance is in those chariots! Do not fear them.

That fierce howling wind?

It belongs to Me. It does My bidding!

Storms are for your training child. You grow a little stronger from each one you weather.

Focus on Me. Focus on My faithfulness.

Let it goI AM sending into your life everything you need to grow you up and make you skillful for every task your destiny requires.

When your skies grow dark, and your enemy tempts you to doubt and unbelief, remember I created you! I have chosen you! Every storm is in My hand and does My bidding. If it washes out a part of your life, let it go!

I AM rebuilding you according to My plans and My specifications.

a closer walk

“The clouds are his chariots. He rides upon the wings of the wind.”

Psalm 104:3Psalm 104:3
English: World English Bible - WEB

3 He lays the beams of his chambers in the waters. He makes the clouds his chariot. He walks on the wings of the wind.

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A Closer Walk: God Never Plays Games With Us

God never plays games with us. He never lies to us. He always shoots straight with us.

I believe that is why Jesus plainly said,

“And no one can be my disciple who does not carry his own cross and follow me. But DON’T BEGIN until you count the cost…” Luke 14:27-28Luke 14:27-28
English: World English Bible - WEB

27 Whoever doesn’t bear his own cross, and come after me, can’t be my disciple. 28 For which of you, desiring to build a tower, doesn’t first sit down and count the cost, to see if he has enough to complete it?

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What could be plainer than that statement?

So, why don’t we believe Him?

God demands everything

Why do we play games?

(Because we do.)

In the Western Church we act like this “discipleship-thing” is some sort of a democratic club. We sing that God is supreme. We say that Jesus is our King. But, if things don’t go well? If we don’t get to have our say, or have our way? We bail out—plain and simple.

The sad truth most church statisticians agree upon.

We hate to be inconvenienced, and because of that, there are as many people going out the back door of our churches as are coming in the front door!

If we don’t get what we want, and by that I mean, the pastor’s length of sermon, the style of music, the style of service, a good parking spot, or our favorite seat—we find a way to say, “Bye-bye.” Suffering—REAL suffering—is definitely not on our agendas.

And that was me!

I was seriously thinking of bailing—and here was God—painting a picture of greater suffering?

I had lost my health, my job, and with it, all of my income, my good credit, my freedom and choice of movement, my church, all my church “friends” and now God was saying, “…things could get worse.”

Worse?

You bet I was re-thinking my discipleship!

I was raised in the democratic Church in the West.

We vote on everything and I wanted a VOTE on this kind of agenda!

All InIt’s all well and good to be sitting on my nice clean cushioned-seat, in my lovely safe air-conditioned church building, singing sweet songs about how much I love Jesus.

BUT, it was quite another to contemplate things getting much worse—while I was occupying my own personal ash pile!

What was I really signing up for?

Did I want this dream I had asked God to give me?

I mean, did I really want it—at any cost?

faith or control?God was using words like “danger” and “hardship” with no apologies for either, you bet I was thinking long and hard.

Did I love Jesus as much as I claimed?

His words, “… don’t begin until you count the cost.” was certainly clear enough.

It was time to decide.

I know it looked crazy, (It probably sounds crazy too.) but my answer was, “Yes.”

I said, “LORD, I don’t have any idea where the two of us are headed, but I’ve come too far to turn back now.”

I was scared.

Life already looked plenty grim.

But regardless—I decided—I was all-in.

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WHY DO YOU WEAR THAT FUNNY LOOK?

So you have chosen. Good. Good!

No turning back.

I AM glad you have chosen to  go on.

It had to be your decision.

You are surprised?

upgrade your faithHave I not chosen to bind Myself by men’s free will? What kind of relationship would choose to hog-tie the other’s free will? That is not friendship, that is slavery!

I AM no slaver!

I AM the Divine Lover.

I never force.

(No, it is not My way.)

I do want you to come away with Me—with all My heart I want this. I AM so jealous when you choose “another love” instead of Me.

I freely admit it  I AM crazy about you!

Why do you wear that funny look?

Had you not figured it out by now?

Did I not tell you?

I would move stars and planets for you!

I would make the sun stand still for you!

I would follow you to the deepest, darkest cave, to win your love!

(This you know is true.)

Let Me shout it, “I LOVE YOU BELOVED!”

Let Me whisper it, “I love you.”

I love you with an intensity you will never understand!

When you choose Me—freely choose Me—no matter the cost? When you lay your life down as you have chosen to do?

My Spirit soars!

You are My passion Sweetheart. I wanted you to know it now, and for all time…

I love you.

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“But we have never turned our backs on God…”

Hebrews 10:39Hebrews 10:39
English: World English Bible - WEB

39 But we are not of those who shrink back to destruction, but of those who have faith to the saving of the soul.

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