Seasons of Loss
Recently, I have gone through a season of deep loss. I’ve been running a sizable ministry for 19 years that had to recently scale things back severely and nearly grind to a halt. I had to close the doors on projects that were having huge impact in lives, and then lay off staff members who had become like family to me. It has been a devastating process.
The last time I went through a serious season of sorrow was when my my mother, father, and stepmother all died within 28 months of each other. That was a terrible time, and one that seemed to go on forever. The silver lining was that I was able to be there to help my loved ones connect with God before they passed away, which gave me a deep sense of purpose in spite of the pain. I even wrote a book about it, called Sharing Christ with the Dying. That allowed me to channel my loss into positive energy. I’ve recovered from that difficult time, and hoped I would never have to face anything so difficult again. But the season of loss returns in our lives, and we have to know how to cope with them.
Loss is Disorienting
Now that I am in a new season of loss, I feel somewhat disoriented. What I have known for two decades has changed drastically, and now I must find a new rhythm to my life. People I love are no longer part of my daily life. My sense of purpose has been drastically altered, and I seem to be wondering “Who am I now?”
Closed door are annoying. My tendency is to test the doorknobs, try to find a key, or just break them down. But I am trying to remember during this season of loss what a friend once told me: closed doors are only DIRECTION from God. I may not yet understand what direction God is leading, but I know from past experience that if I wait out the pain, I’ll find out where He is leading me.
The book of Hebrews was written during a dangerous time in history when Christians were severely persecuted. Some fled their homelands to seek safety, while others lost loved ones who were put to death. It must have been extremely confusing for these early believers to find that their new life in Christ seemed to bring such misery and pain. And yet, it was probably the fact that these Christians scattered that allowed the spread of the precious gospel. In a way, we owe our faith in Christ to their suffering.
The author of Hebrews tells us, “…do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised” (Hebrews 10:35-36, ESV). This is a wonderful message for anyone in a time of loss. We need to endure for a season, but then we will receive from God what He has promised. Or, as Paul puts it, “Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6, NIV). This is a great reminder! My confidence is in Christ, not in my own abilities or sense of direction. He is always faithful, and He can surely carry me all the way through this difficult season.