Wednesday, October 14, 2009

An Unusual Tool for Growth

Loss. I just finished an article about this sobering topic. It is definitely not a respecter of persons. The past few weeks have reminded me of this fact. Once again I realized that at some point, all of us will experience loss.

Recently, some dear friends buried their Dad. A young husband buried his wife. A relative lost his job. And an acquaintance was diagnosed with cancer. Whether it’s the loss of a loved one, the loss of health, or the loss of a job, we can all relate.

Still pondering this topic as I sat down to read this morning, I was encouraged by the reminder that in spite of all the difficult changes that occur, God hasn’t changed. One of my favorite verses serves as a testimony of this truth: “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and for ever” (Hebrews 13:8, KJV). We can rejoice in the fact that He provides help, hope and ultimately healing when we’re overwhelmed by the difficult circumstances life throws at us.

The Psalms of David are rich with emotion. Praise, doubt, fear, faith. You’ll find all of them echoed in this fantastic book of the Bible. Psalms 61:1-3 shares a desperate, yet somehow confident prayer of King David in a distressing time of loss in his life, “1 Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer. 2 From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I. 3 For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy.” David knew his God would provide help and hope.

I remember back to the unnerving time when my husband was laid off. How would we make ends meet? Would he find another job quickly? Would we have to sell our house? In the midst of our crisis, God offered us help and hope in His Word. He walked with us every step of the way. We were not in control of the situation, but He was! Nine, long months went by before my husband was employed again, but God was faithful to meet each of our needs.

When you stop to consider it, our times of greatest spiritual growth are, more often than not, brought about by difficulty and hardship. I can’t say that I’m first in line to sign up for suffering, but I know that I have grown as a result of difficulty and loss.

I’m reminded of the miscarriages my husband and I have experienced. How amazing it is to look back at the pain that we suffered, yet see God’s sovereign hand as He brought healing. Psalms 147:3 offers a beautiful promise from God to anyone who accepts it, “He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.” God is also faithful to give us opportunities to bring comfort to others during their time of need. Our losses and struggles need never be wasted.

God’s desire is for us to be “conformed to the image of his Son” (Rom. 8:29). Oftentimes it takes the tough stuff of life to get us to the place where we can be molded and shaped, and experience growth in our faith. While living on this earth, I constantly remind myself, that my sanctification won’t be complete until I reach heaven. Growing in faith is a journey, not a destination. How sweet to meditate on Paul’s words in Philippians 1:6, “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:” He walks with us every step of the way.

Have you experienced a loss recently? Have you seen your faith grow as a result? I’d love to hear from you!


  1. Maria, your encouragement is such a blessing. God has been so faithful to me that there are too many occasions to name. I love Him, and I'll tell it everywhere where I go.

    I am reminded of the scripture in James, to "count all joy" He didn;t say loss would make us happy. He did promise that it would strengthen and complete us in the plan He has mapped for our lives.

    Continue to let the Lord use you for His glory!

  2. Tamika, Thanks for sharing! It can be so difficult to 'count it all joy,' in the midst of the trial. I'm glad there is a divine purpose and goal in it all!!

    I appreciate your encouraging words! My prayer is that the Lord continues to use both of us for His honor and glory!

    *How is your writing going? Praying for you!

  3. I always love your posts. The Bible passages are perfect and the message too. Thank you!

    No, I don't have anything to be down about right now. We've been blessed. Although many nuisances have sprung the past few weeks, they've been minor. Certainly nothing to feel down about!

  4. Jill, glad God's Word is always quick and powerful! It never returns void, does it?! Good to hear that you're counting your blessings. Have a fantastic day! :)

  5. I love your posts, Maria. God is good and great! It's amazing how much our faith grows when we're most uncomfortable.

  6. I'm so glad I came across your blog, Maria, because I've been going through some heavy trials right now and this post reminded me of God's love for His children and no matter the tribulation He's in control of the wheel. I needed to hear these words, thank you for being God's vessell.
    God Bless!

  7. Hi Maria,
    I haven't experienced too much loss, but I've experienced betrayals and I completely agree with this post, that we can grow closer to God through our trials and pains. Wonderful post!

  8. Heather, Thanks so much for your warm words of encouragement! You're absolutely right that: God + out of our comfort zone = growth!!

  9. Welcome, Ellie! So thankful that God brought you by and could use this post to bring you hope and encouragement. Know that I'll be praying for you! It is definitely comforting to be assured of God's love and constant presence while we're going through the 'fire.'

    When my Dad passed away, God's grace was amazing. He immediately brought Isaiah 26:3-4 to my mind: "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.Trust ye in the Lord for ever: for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength:"

    I'll be praying for God's perfect peace in the midst of your storms!

    God bess you!

  10. Jessica, I definitely agree that betrayal falls under the categories of "trial" & "pain!" I guess it could be considered a loss, in that you lose confidence in the person who has betrayed you...

    Thanks for sharing! God is good!:)

  11. Hi Maria,

    I've experienced many losses in my life including my father dying while I was in college, 3 miscarriages during the past years of raising my children, along with loss of job, worries of finances, etc. But through it all, God has grown me so much. I can look back now and thank him for the trials that at the time were so difficult.

  12. Jody, Thanks for sharing! Sounds like you've had plenty of opportunities to doubt the goodness of God. I'm sure He's rewarded you for your faith and perseverance! No doubt, He's allowed you to share your experiences with others and comfort them in the process! Thanks for being an encouragement!

  13. Maria, the valleys are where we discover all that God can do for us. It is where we discover that true blessings from God are himself. That is what I have learned. Great post. Thanks for praying for my Christopher. :)

  14. A friend of mine said I needed to read this post, and I'm glad I did. I am in the process of going through a miscarriage of our first baby. I'm early in my pregnancy. I'm so sad and confused...but your words are true...this has been a huge opportunity for faith. I feel my faith strengthening as I go through this, though I wouldn't have asked for it.

    Keep encouraging people...thank you.