Ephesians 2:4-5 (KJV), “But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.”
Six days into the month of November, I experienced another loss, not the loss of a person, but the loss of an activity that I loved. It was my happy place when the dark clouds of unhappiness threatened to overwhelm me. It was one of several key disappointments that I have had to deal with in the last six months. I will be honest with you; I don’t deal with disappointment or loss of anything – whether serious or trivial – very well. I hurt deeply when I lose friendships, or I lose the trust or confidence of people who matter to me. So, it makes me try harder, but trying harder doesn’t always get the results I want. Trying harder, when the mindset is not calibrated for success (AKA being stubborn), can often be to my own detriment.
Why? Because some losses are necessary to move you to another level, some are necessary for growth to take place, and others are necessary to create the space for what’s to come that ultimately may be better for you. These ‘things to come’ are more akin to “what we need” vs. “what we want.” No matter how mature I try to be, it can be a bitter pill to swallow. This idea holds true for new or young Christians as we grapple with how to deal with actions, behaviors, or life choices that are part of the ‘old self.’ However, often, it is the key part of sharing the Gospel that more mature Christians either fail to impart or simply gloss over when they counsel saints who are still children growing in the Spirit.
2 Peter 3:18 (ESV), “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.”
With this most recent loss, I took about 12 hours to allow myself to be angry, to mourn the loss, and then I stood straight and accepted it. By the next morning, I was strangely relieve, so I just rolled with it. During those twelve hours, the Holy Spirit held me; even as the anger and lashing out spewed from my mind, and mouth, I was held. My response the next morning was proof that I could no longer accept that I was not “good at dealing with disappointment.” I had matured both personally and spiritually. In my response, I graciously accepted the loss, while acknowledging my disappointment, and I stood proudly with the decision.
1 Peter 5:10 (ESV), “And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.”
As I wrote this article, the story of the prodigal son popped into my mind. It is the perfect metaphor for how God regards us when we falter or experience crushing disappointments. He, like the beaming father, accepted that the son was ‘lost’ but now was ‘found.’ In other words, he did not ignore the son’s missteps, but the love in his heart welcomed him home in spite of his transgressions.
2 Chronicles 30:9b (ESV), “For the Lord your God is gracious and merciful and will not turn away His face from you, if you return to Him.”
That is GRACE. I just wish someone would have explained it to me that way. Grace is the eternal medicine freely given by God to hurting people living in a broken world. But it is also the strength that we can lean on to overcome the vagaries of this life. It is also an indicator of the deepening relationship we have with Jesus Christ, when we can extend it to ourselves and to others in stressful moments.
2 Corinthians 12:9, “But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”