Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Tough Stuff

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 recently experienced a loss? Are you willing to allow the Lord to use it to draw you closer to Him and be a blessing to others?

Prayer: Heavenly Father, Thank You for the challenges life brings. I know it's through times of testing that I draw closer to You. I'm so thankful that You walk right beside me every day. In Jesus' name, Amen.

*A re-post from March 2010.


  1. I always draw comfort from that verse. Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Wonderful post, Maria!

  2. Greetings, A thought provoking post and I loved that you tied in the verses as well. We will all, at some time or another, suffer loss but we have One that has already gone through it and will never leave us or forsake us.
    Blessings, Noreen

  3. I love this, Maria. So much truth here. I have experienced a loss recently, and I have seen, firsthand, God's presence. What a beautiful reminder.

  4. You listed two of my favorites - that He never changes, ever, and that He binds up all our wounds. Those verses have long stayed with me and help me. I don't sign up for those times, either, but they do bring a sweetness that can not be found elsewhere as He walks with us. Those times of loss have always brought about my biggest growth. Thanks for the sweet reminder today, Maria!

  5. Maria,
    Your words echo my heart. Spiritual growth definitely comes through the pain. You tied it together so beautifully with God's promises and your own experiences. I always feel refreshed after visiting with you.

  6. Great post Maria. I am also very blessed in life so far, I have not experienced much loss... my parents are both still alive as well as my other family members. Apart from a miscarriage (we have no kids) which let to my salvation I cannot even imagine what it is to suffer great loss. I admire people who stand strong!

  7. A great post Maria! You always bless my heart when I am here!
    I can relate so much to your post having lost both my parents many years ago and my mother just in her early fifties. For me too I agree spiritual growth and growing closer to the Lord does comeoften during times of much pain. It is during these times we grow and we learn to trust Him who is ever faithful.I have to say during a period of illness myself this was the time I have grown the most.
    God bless you.