Jubilee Weekly September 19, 2017

“Rising Above the Storms of Life”

Storms have certainly been in the news a lot lately. There have been many losses as a result of the storms. Some have lost their lives. Many have lost their property. Probably many have lost items they treasured. From many reports, it will take years to rebuild and recover.

You have probably noticed that I have used the word “loss” and “losses” several times. Dr. Norm Wright, who has experienced several losses in his life wrote the following in his book, “Recovering from Losses in Life.” Like a silent conspiracy, we seem to have an unspoken agreement with others not to talk about our losses.

Yet with each and every loss comes the potential for change, growth, new insights, understanding and refinement – all positive descriptions and words of hope. But they are often in the future, and we fail to see that far ahead when we are in the midst of our grief. What great insight Dr. Wright shows in those words.

Insight he has personally learned from his own life experiences. (That is one of the reasons I wrote my last book, “Learning to Live”.)

In Romans 8: 28, the Apostle Paul wrote: “We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose.” Paul did not say all things are good. Rather he is emphasizing that in all things God works to accomplish what is good for His people.

Going further in that same chapter, Paul reminds us in Romans 8: 31-32, “What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He did not even spare His own son, but offered Him up for us all; how will He not also with Him grant us everything? There are several truths here I don’t want us to miss –

1. God is for us.
2. God did not spare His own sinless Son.
3. God allowed His Son to be put to death to atone for our sins.
4. He raised His Son from the grave to sit at His right hand to intercede for us.
5. In Romans 8: 38-39, he assures us – “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present, nor thigs to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing will have power to separate us form the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

I don’t want to minimize your loss or the pain that comes with it. None of us enjoys losing. It hurts. We much prefer winning. Frequently, we are hit especially hard because we are not prepared for losing – just winning. On top of that, the devil wants us to believe that the loss is our own fault. An example of this is found in John 9: 1-3.

Jesus and His disciples were going somewhere and they saw a man who was blind from birth. The disciples asked, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he would be born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was neither this man that sinned or his parents; but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him.” Truth: Sometimes God allows something to take place in our lives, that may seem unfair. It is an opportunity for Him to display His love and goodness as a witness to others.

The degree of intensity we feel in a loss is closely connected to the replaceability of that which we lost. Some items can be replaced so the intensity, while painful, may not be at the level it would be if it was the loss of a loved one, a home, a pet, etc. Over the years I have personally felt the experience of losing a loved one and a significant investment. I felt pain over both, but I can assure you the intensity I felt over the loss of a loved one was far greater than that of the investment.

God in His goodness gave me another wonderful love that I am so grateful for. We have had an amazing journey for which I praise Him. She never asked me to forget my first life partner, nor could I, but to talk about Barbara. Joyce felt safe in encouraging that because she knew God had given me a deep love for her. How I praise Him for helping me to face my losses and go forward serving Him.

I want to close this meditation by suggesting that when we face our losses honestly, several things can happen.

• Our faith can be strengthened.
• We can grow and become more mature.
• We can be helpful to others. 2 Cor. 1:3-4

In Romans 5: 3-4 (AMP) we read: “Moreover (let us also be full of joy now) let us exalt and triumph in our troubles and rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that pressure and affliction and hardship produce patient and unswerving endurance. And endurance (fortitude) develops maturity of character (approved faith and integrity). And character (of this sort) produces (the
habit of) joyful and confident hope of eternal salvation.”

The Apostle Paul went through many things that were painful, but he summed them all up by saying, “The things that happened to me have resulted in the furtherance of the gospel.” Phil. 1: 2

I pray that we will learn to let our LORD use our losses to mature us and to advance the gospel far and near.

For His glory,

Pastor Leonard