Coming Back from a Loss – California Southern Baptist Convention

Coming Back from a Loss

Published Jan 31, 2023

Someone once said, “Faithfulness involves developing the habit of hanging around God, not so we’ll have less suffering, but so that in the clear light of our nearness to God, we will better see what our suffering means and what our faithfulness should produce.” As I contemplated and struggled with the early death of my wife to breast cancer, God revealed this truth in response to the question, “Why do bad things happen to good people?” Speaking through the apostle Peter, he pointed out that unjust suffering raises our consciousness of God and, in fact, shifts our focus to Him. 

Have you ever been disappointed, depressed, or discouraged? Have you ever felt like a total failure? Perhaps some days, you feel more like a loser than you do a winner. You feel like, “Why bother? Why make the effort? Why keep on trying? It’s not working!” Life is basically a series of mountains and valleys, ups and downs, good times and bad times, pitfalls and possibilities. I remember someone once said you will have trouble in this world.

Well, isn’t that the truth?

Many things can overwhelm us — grief, guilt, grudges, worry, responsibilities, and circumstances. We often go to great lengths to try to find out what will calm us down, de-stress us, and give us inner peace. However, the truth is very few people ever experience inner peace. We waste so much time regretting the past and worrying about the future that we mess up the present. We tell ourselves that we just need to “have more faith;” faith in ourselves, in our jobs, in our families and friends, and perhaps even faith in God.

Maybe, you are at the point in your life where you would say, “Yeah, I could use some faith that is unshakable right now. It’s been a rough month (or six months, or year, or five years, or even a lifetime).” Hey, I’ve been there. I have put this unshakable faith deal to the test. I have asked those same questions. I have felt those same feelings. I have experienced what it is to be overwhelmed and feel like there is no relief in sight.

None of us are immune to the pressures, difficulties, and tragedies of life — cancer, heart disease, loss of loved ones and friends through a tragic death, and extended hospital stays where you or the doctors have no idea what’s wrong. Agonizing over the plight of those closest to you. I am on that road as well, trying to develop unshakable faith. I want encouragement, comfort, power, and peace to face death, illness, failure, stressful relationships, and more. I want to stand strong through the storms of life.

Life is an adventure filled with surprises, blessings, challenges, and pain. However, there is purpose in every day. The Bible says that every experience in life can be used for good. In fact, good experiences and bad ones shape us and help us grow to be fully developed people if we cooperate with God’s process. We struggle with this process because it hurts. We desire growth. Nevertheless, we would like it to be as painless as possible. The reality is that we grow best by testing. Unfortunately, testing is difficult.

When we shift our focus to God, it steadies us as we walk through painful and stressful times. It is usually after the suffering ends that we realize the benefit gained from the pain and understand that it has made us more like Jesus Christ. The apostle Paul promises that we will become spiritually mature by sharing in the fellowship of Christ’s suffering. As I have addressed the question of what my suffering should produce, God clearly challenges me to have unshakable faith. However, I never dreamed I would be faced with such devastating challenges. 

Perhaps the biggest temptation at times like this is to give up on my relationship with God: “Why God? Why is this happening to me?” In the Old Testament, Job refused to give up. Scripture teaches that God’s faithfulness is consistent and, in fact, cost Him far more than I’ll ever have to pay. The bottom line is I don’t know why we face trials, but I do know we must remain faithful regardless of the outcome. I do know we cannot do it alone. One resource that was a great help to me was the free counseling I received through our convention. Let me encourage you to sign up here for the Full-Strength Network.