How do you handle losses in life? Losing someone or something dear to one’s heart can be hard to handle. When people lose, reactions vary from grouchy to gracious, humble to hateful, even dogmatic to despondent. How we act and react to losses reveals character and can show one’s closeness to Christ.
Restoration can happen if we handle losses in life by Jesus’ example. Think of times throughout His 33 years on earth when losses could have changed His relationship with His Father…and you and me. Jesus honestly reacted to all things, even when He was misunderstood and mocked by the people He came to save. Ironically, some were family members and friends who could not receive the blessings of knowing and believing in Jesus. To them, He was just the son of a carpenter. The miracles Jesus performed, while walking with His disciples throughout the land, were received with exceedingly great joy for them and honor for Him, except in His own hometown. There were few miracles there because of their unbelief. Surely, this loss of cherished time together – with those who should have supported stronger and believed greater than anyone – hurt Jesus. How He handled this loss gives strength when we face similar situations. We will not always be understood or supported by friends, foes, even family.
Jesus understands when we cry out to Him for help in knowing how to handle things without losing cherished relationships. When faced with delicate situations that signal defeat, Paul reminds us to “think on things that are lovely!” Jesus did that. He did not allow what people thought of Him to deter His calling and close relationship with His Father and followers. His life was willingly sacrificed for believers to have victory in Jesus and life everlasting in paradise. Wow…that’s amazing grace at the ultimate level by the Lord who loves without limits and longs to walk and talk with us daily.
Did Jesus allow aggravation and anger over the way things happened to Him to destroy His calling? Heavens no; neither should we! Losses and bad things happening to us and our loved ones can beat us down, sacking us not once, but seven times seventy! We must face defeat in faith, get up, claim our blessing, put the devil behind us, and keep pounding for victory in Jesus.
God knows His children well and understands we will make mistakes. He loves us so much that He sent His Son to die for our sins and restore us through forgiveness and faith in Him whom we have not seen. Thomas doubted, as we do, especially when times of loss and desperation plummet us to places we never thought we would go and put us in situations we never thought we would face. Jesus addressed Thomas’ unbelief by letting him touch the holes in His hands where the nails were pounded that held Him on the cross. Jesus knows how hard life can be, even when we believe and try to do what is right and good in His sight. Jesus came in the flesh, He understands our trials and temptations when we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, face losses, and press on to the prize before us in faith! He is for us; Satan is against us. Our greatest loss comes if we do not believe in Jesus and allow Him to live in our hearts. With Jesus for us…who can be against us?
Psalm 27:5 encourages and comforts when frustration and defeat attack like a hungry lion. “In the day of trouble He will hide me in His shelter; in the secret place of His tent will He hide me; He will set me high upon a rock.”
Blessings can come from the burdens we bear when losses seem to turn our world upside down. In His perfect timing, those traumatic losses can be stepping stones that propel us to victories. Handling losses the ‘right’ way can be different for different folks. There is no set protocol that crowns one with approval for the way he/she handles hard losses. The prize comes when one goes through the process of losing without becoming a loser. Jesus set the example over and over and over again of staying grounded in God’s love through losses, heartbreaks, defeats, and trials that tempt wrong reactions and consequences. Happiness can be hampered and blessings halted until we give the reins to Jesus… trust and obey. Then, we win! Humility and happiness overcome hatred, hurt, or hatefulness as we embrace living and loving by the example Jesus put in place for all God’s children to follow. Our heavenly Father is no respecter of persons. He loves all His children and allows losses that can lead the way to peace, prosperity, and winning by walking with Him.
Satan tempted Jesus to jump from the mountain while fasting in the desert, tried to trick Him with flattery and lies, badgered our Lord and Savior in the garden while He prayed on His face and asked His Father if the cup could be removed. Jesus could have thrown in the towel and tasted the bitterness of defeat, but He loved us too much to do that. He stayed strong to His calling and closeness to His Father.
When things looked the bleakest is when the blessings are waiting in the wings. When darkness and depression hit hardest – with no visible way out of sadness, sorrow, addictions, sickness, or any situation that steals joy and robs God’s children of real and wonderful relationships with Him – we can spiritually and physically lose it all. However, when we hold on, press forward in faith, and keep our eyes on Jesus, we become winners!
The Light of our Lord breaks through to mend with miracles and restore joy, love, and peace that surpasses all understanding. Weary and worn, while knowing what was waiting for Him (death on the cross), Jesus claimed the victory over death and asked His Father to forgive them (could “them” be you and me?) for they knew not what they were doing! When we don’t know what we’re doing or how to handle things, we can pray. Prayer can change attitudes and aftermath.
Give a shout of praise. Share this with someone. Whisper words of love and thank you to the Master as you read this story of how we can handle losses and have victory in Jesus! Thank Him for helping you get through losses! Allow humbleness to replace hatefulness. Think before speaking. Trust and obey. Encourage others. Give to those in need. Keep God first in all things. Have faith, hope, but the greatest of all things is to LOVE! And, oh, how He loves you and me! May our love and lives shine brightly for THEE.
Becky Spell Vann is a long-time columnist for the Sampson Independent’s Faith & Family section and owner of the outreach ministry Tim’s Gift.