What’s There to Gain from Loss?
by Laura MacCorkle
At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.” - Job 1:20-21, NIV
In the next-to-last chapter of Dr. David Clarke’s The 6 Steps to Emotional Freedom: Breaking Through to the Life God Wants You to Live, a few sentences stand out in regard to our personal response to loss:
“You’re stuck if you have not genuinely changed as a person, in your relationships with others, and in your relationship with God. The whole point of loss is change. Each loss ought to move you ahead in these three areas… God wants you to experience positive change, and one of His main methods to promote change is loss.”
Whoa. When’s the last time any of us has looked at a loss in our lives as something good? As something meant for positive change? As something from which we can gain?
It’s so much easier to become bitter, to stay depressed, to go into denial or to lash out in anger at those closest to us.
When I think back about all the loss I’ve experienced in my lifetime, I don’t know if I can see resulting positive changes every time. Divorce, death, job lay-off, broken relationships, a church split… these are some of the losses that have impacted my life so far. Yes, some have grown me and strengthened my spiritual life. But others are still a painful work in progress.
In the Bible, Job has got to be the No. 1 poster child for loss. He had it all: great wealth, good health and multiple children. And then one by one, God allowed it all to be taken away.
There was great suffering. Job agonized and felt alone. He cursed the day of his birth. I can imagine him thinking, Please, God, I am so tired of hurting. I have nothing left. Why are you allowing this to happen to me? I don’t know how much longer I can be ‘strong,’ hold it together and act like everything is fine.
But despite losing nearly everything, Job never curses God (although he is honest about his feelings). He honors His Creator and is faithful. Job sees that God’s way is the right way. He repents. And then God blesses him, giving him TWICE what he had before.
God doesn’t explain to Job why he allowed the suffering. And Job is okay with that. In fact, he goes on to live another 140 years: “He saw his children and their children to the fourth generation. And so he died, old and full of years” (Job 42:16-17).
We see that Job’s loss didn’t cripple him. He didn’t shrivel up his spirit and choose the bitter route for the rest of his days. No, what happened to Job only strengthened his relationship with God and matured his spiritual understanding. And that is the ultimate gain.
Like Job, we are to be faithful to God even when we endure loss in our lives.
Intersecting Faith & Life: Ask God today how, through your loss, He can help you gain positive change as a person—in your relationships with others and in your relationship with Him. Ask Him to use your experience to encourage someone else who has also suffered loss.
The Characters of Christmas is a podcast created to help you take a fresh look at the Christmas story by getting to know the minor characters that played a part in Jesus’ birth. It is the companion to Dan Darling's book "The Characters of Christmas: The Unlikely People Caught Up in the Story of Jesus."