Lately, I’ve become aware of a number of losses in my life. Perhaps this describes you in this season as well. This is not to be unexpected in a post-Genesis 3 fallen world. Still, there are many losses that I am aware of in recent days, including:
- The news that a dear friend, who has bravely battled cancer for years, has gone into hospice care.
- Saying good bye to dear friends from church as they move to Tennessee.
- Saying good bye to two team members that, even though I had only worked with them for about four months, I very much enjoyed getting to know them and they will be missed.
- Hearing that a dear woman from church has had a recurrence of cancer after more than twenty years.
- Walking with dear friends from church as one of them walks the path of Alzheimer’s disease.
- The upcoming one year anniversary of my father-in-law’s home-going.
- Meeting a new team member who is walking with a brother battling cancer.
- Hearing of a close relative’s loss of their dog that was dear to them.
- Good friends who experienced three deaths in ten days, including two parents.
I hate cancer. I hate death. I hate good-byes.
And yet for the believer, we know that this life is as bad as it will get. We have much to look forward to. We have hope. Hope of no more cancer. Hope of no more tears. Hope of reuniting, with not only friends who have moved away, but of loved ones who have died. No more waiting on medical tests to find out if the cancer has spread. No more suffering.
John in Revelation 21:4 tells us:
He will wipe away every tear from their (yes our!) eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.
But until Heaven, how are we to persevere in this fallen and broken world, when life is so hard and there is so much loss all around us? Consider some of this encouragement from Scripture:
- For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. Romans 8:18
- Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope. Romans 5:3-4
- Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. John 14:1
- Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10
- Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. Psalm 23:4
- But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14
- Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. John 14:27
- Casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7
- “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-18.
And of course there are so many more passages from Scripture that provide us comfort and encouragement in the midst of loss. What other verses or passages from the Bible have provided you comfort in the midst of loss?
There are signs of new life as the Midwest embraces spring. As I write this, farmers are in their fields preparing their land for planting. Soon, there will be small little corn and bean plants in perfectly shaped rows emerging in our rich black soil. The redbuds and crabapple trees today are just stunning. There are new buds on our maple tree and fresh green growth on our evergreens around our patio. God is faithful. He will be with you, in the good times and bad.
April 26, 2017 at 4:50 pm
Amen! Every word you said is true, we all hate goodbyes but thank you God for the hope of eternal life in Heaven with the Lord and those we love who have gone before us.
April 26, 2017 at 5:15 pm
Bill, many thanks for your outstanding blog post! It really hit home for us. Thank you for the excellent reminders of hope and ways to persevere as well!
April 26, 2017 at 5:56 pm
The Scripture was very comforting and helpful to me. Thank you for lifting me up!
April 26, 2017 at 7:01 pm
Well said, Bill. We are guaranteed to see fellow believers again through His grace and mercy. We have hope bc He defeated the grave.
April 27, 2017 at 1:49 pm
I have always found particular comfort in Matthew 28:20: I am with you always, to the very end of the age; and in John 14:2-3: In my father’s house are many mansions, I go to prepare a place for you..and I will come again and receive you to myself. I had a pastor once who explained in that passage, in the Greek, the pronoun “I” is translated as “I, myself”, as in, “I–myself–will prepare a place for you, and I–myself–will come for you. How comforting and personal! When it’s my time–or any believer’s time–Christ–HIMSELF–will escort them to their heavenly home.
April 27, 2017 at 2:10 pm
Hi Tracy – those are great verses. Thanks so much.
Pingback: 6 Things I Have Learned from Those Who Suffer | Coram Deo ~