The Lord Giveth and The Lord Taketh Away

I have been thinking a lot about loss lately.  I am not really sure why, but it has been on my mind.  We all have and will experience loss in our lives.  That is just the way life on this earth is.  Nothing can last forever while we live here.  We all experience loss, and we all deal with it differently.  Some of us get sad, while others get mad.  Many of us blame ourselves, and some of us blame others.  We even blame God for the loss in our lives.  We question Him and wonder why He would take away something that we love so much.  We question His wisdom and wonder what we have done to deserve or experience such a loss in our lives.  The thing that all of us need to remember is that loss is part of life.

Some of the losses we experience will be small, and some of them will be large.  Some of them will change our lives forever and some of them will only slightly alter our lives.  The common feeling that all of us have when we experience loss is hopelessness.  We feel out of control.  We feel like life will never be the same and that we will never be able to smile again or see the good in life anymore.  This is what I believe about loss.  God never allows us to lose something that He does not give us something in return.  I have two perfect examples of this theory.  

The first one involves my grandma.  You all know how much I love my grandma, and you all know how special she is to me.  She has experienced profound loss in her life, but I think the hardest loss she endured was losing her only son.  Before my aunt and mom were born, my grandma had a little boy named Paul Jerry.  When Paul Jerry was almost two years old, he died unexpectedly.  My grandma was very young when this happened, and I can only image the grief that she felt when she lost her little baby.  She never had a little boy to raise, and she always wished that she had been given the chance to raise a son.  It has been over seventy years since my grandma lost Paul Jerry, and I am not completely sure that she knows why she had to lose him, but my grandma did get something in return for her loss.  I remember the day that all the dots connected and she realized what God had done for her.  It was an early Christmas morning and my grandma was praying and thinking about Paul Jerry.  This would have been close to fifty years after he had died.  She was questioning God and asking Him why she had to give Paul Jerry up, and God reminded her of what He had given her.  You see my aunt and mom had had five children between them, all of them boys.  My grandma said that she felt that God spoke to her that morning and said, “I may have taken your son from you, but look at what I gave you in return.  I gave you five grandsons.”  From that moment on, my grandma seemed to make peace with the loss of her son.  Not that she did not miss him and wish things had been different, but she realized that God did give her something back, and He gave it back to her in a greater number than she had had before.  

Another example of God giving back to us is my own mother.  My mom had three sons, my older brother, Robert, me, and my younger brother, Andrew.  Almost fifteen years ago, my mother lost my older brother.  She did not lose her son to death, like my grandma did, but he is no longer in our lives.  It is a decision that he has made for his own reasons, but it has broken my mom’s heart.  Until recently, I have had trouble understanding why my mom held on to the loss like she has.  As you all know, Jeff and I had three Miniature Schnauzers, and we recently lost our little girl Parker.  Having the other two has been a real blessing to us, but we still feel as if our little family is not complete without Parker.  I finally realized that this is how my mom feels.  Now I am not trying to compare a child not being in a mother’s life to a pet passing away, but I think God has used the loss of Parker to help me understand how my mother feels.  She feels that her family is not complete without Rob.  We all hope and pray that he returns one day, and I know that my mom prays daily for his return, but she does have three sons in her life.  God gave her Jeff.  I don’t think my mom could love Jeff anymore if he were her own son, and I know that Jeff loves my mom like she were his own mother.  He told me recently, “You know, I could not love your mom anymore than if she were my own mother.”  It isn’t that Jeff has replaced Rob. No one could take Rob’s place in my mom’s heart, but God has given her a third son that can be part of her life right now.  

Loss is a terrible thing, and it is difficult to deal with.  I know that many of you are dealing with or have dealt with loss in your life.  I am sure you question why the loss had to occur, and I am sure that you question God and may even blame yourself.  It is time for all of us to stop questioning God and stop blaming ourselves for the loss in our lives.  Loss is part of life.  That is just the way it is.  We will lose and we will gain in this life.  

So, if you are struggling with a loss right now, take a moment and examine your life.  Think about what it is you lost and start looking for what you have gained in your life since the loss occurred.  I am confident that you will be able to see that God has indeed given you something in return for the loss that you have endured.  He may have given you something in return in far greater numbers than you lost, like He did for my grandma or He may have replaced your loss with one thing like He did for my mom.  God knows what we need.  He never leaves us or forsakes us, and He never removes something from our lives that He does not give us something in return.  God’s generosity and goodness will fill all of our lives if we just allow it to.  We may have to look for it sometimes, but I promise you it is there.  Enduring a loss can take away our peace, but God will fill the loss in our lives and the peace will return and PEACE MATTERS.