Life comes to women in stiff doses. When it does, and we are crushed or shattered or stretched beyond our limits, we need to surround ourselves with good theologians. But at the end of the day, it won’t be their theology we will lean on…We will lean on our own. Carolyn Custis James
This week was full of losses. Material losses. Political losses. Health losses. Relational losses. Each and every one made my heart and mind ache for relief. I felt like yelling, “I give!” to God so that He’d put a stop to the pain (and the losses). I so wanted to do a rewind and replay for a different outcome in each of these areas. But as much as I desired different, even better more favorable results, I realized something. As much as these losses stung, there was something deeper amiss in my heart.
A single word. Idols. From the loss of the election to some financial slippage to a recent relational tangle which made me feel heartsick (and body sick,) I realized that in every single one of these situations I had made an idol out of getting the results I wanted (craved?) Idols. As one theologian said, our hearts are idol factories. We manufacture one after another throughout our lives and each time we do, they come crumbling down and we look at the mess in grave disappointment because we were so hoping they’d come through for us in a way deeper level than they were ever intended to do so.
As much as I desired what I believed to be right and true and honorable results in my losses, I also had to admit after the fact, that it wasn’t just the multiplication of loss that was getting to me. It was the accompanying disappointment. In life. In myself. In God. I have to continually remind myself that life and losses go hand in hand throughout this broken world.
No amount of hoping, wishing, or praying otherwise is going to change the fact that we all live in a dying world. But once we accept that truth, our losses make more sense and they don’t take us by surprise so much. Loss upon loss, we need to walk hand in hand with God through it all. And yes, it’s still going to hurt and sting like crazy.
But God. Don’t you love that two-word phrase? But God. Amidst the pain, the disappointment, the sorrows…there is God. And where God dwells, there can be peace, contentment, and a rightness to our world even when everything seems to be falling apart. In all honesty, I haven’t much enjoyed these past few months because the pain has lined every moment. But God. There it is again. That powerful biblical truth that transforms all my heartache into something beautiful (in me, through me.) No matter what my life may look and feel like right now…God is holding sovereign sway over it all. But God. Amen!
FYI: I decided to share this excerpt from my newest book, Burden Lifters, when a radio host friend asked me to capture how I was feeling after a long holiday season that was riddled with losses of all sorts. Like many others, the last few weeks of 2013 went out not with a bang! but with a sense of sadness and lingering sorrow. Still, I’m clinging to those two words that have held me firm for as long as I can remember. But God!