Never Walk Alone Pt 4: Love and Loss
We continue with our series “Never Walk Alone” Today we address a very difficult subject that does not need much introduction but I have simply titled it LOVE and LOSS. Loss is a bitter pill in life that we all at some point will or have already swallowed. Loss is simply when something is no more.
It is also very hard to separate Loss and Love. Loss always hurts most because we loved most. Yet Loss is a reality we must deal with every day and today we are privileged to have with us 2 guests who will share from their lives on this subject and hopefully draw out some insights but also whose Lives are a testimony to us how God has seen them through these tough times.
But before they come, all of us have experienced some kind or form of loss in one way or another. There are 4 main kind of losses that are very tough and affect our ability to give, receive and experience Love.
Loss of a loved one– A spouse who is no more, loss of a father, mother, family member or a friend. Sometimes the circumstances around their loss make it even harder. We feel hurt and helpless without the person, communion and fellowship is broken and it can end up making us worse. Because we may not know how to handle these, there are so many bad feelings around these areas, some guilt, some bitterness, some wounded or scarred.
Loss of a property– The pain that comes from the loss of a property either by damage, accident, theft or disappearance. This type of loss robs from us our sense of pride and achievement. When the sweat of many years of labour is taken away, we can build a lot of bitterness and un-forgiveness.
Loss of an Ability– This loss is when the doctor comes and gives a finality to a medical condition, you will never see again, you will never have a child again, we just lost the baby, You may not walk again, or terminal illnesses that slowly and painfully rob us of our lives, Or You are positive, or paralysis. These losses are accompanied by great stigma and disengaged living. Seeing your self as half a person, less deserving of Love and attention.
Loss of Income source– This kind of loss comes from failed business, being fired, retrenchment e.t.c. Some of the pain connected is low self esteem, your sense of significance and standing in the society has been taken away from you. When you have to sell your car to survive, move to a smaller house, reduced to a beggar from people.
We’ll come back to these, but help me now to welcome the Maganjos on stage and Dr. Mutheu Talitwala on the bench.
Questions to Joel
- I don’t know if you can identify with these, Kindly share to the church if you can the losses you have gone through as a family and which ones have been the toughest.
- After you lost your house, what were some of the feelings, questions or things that went on in your minds?
- What are some of the challenges in picking yourself again, what has helped and what has not helped?
- Did any of these losses present a challenge to your relationships either with each other or with people around you
- Who have been some of the people that have helped you sail through these journeys and what are some things they did
- You are very passionate about this discussion, Why is it very difficult to talk about loss and death and how did you come around to make it a passion
- Briefly explain to us the grieving process
- In your book, you also mention children and youth having a grieving process of their own, please enlighten us and how to help them especially the children
- What would you say are the signs of someone who has not yet finished grieving and those who has
- You said Christians wound each other- and that sometimes God does not make sense to the grieving person- Please elaborate on this
LOSS- LOVE- FAITH
John 11, is the account of the loss of a dear friend to Jesus and a loved brother to Mary and Martha. 4 days earlier, Jesus received news about Lazarus being sick, In verse 3 it says, word came to Jesus that “Lord, the one you love is sick”
This kind of news just comes in the middle of the day, while you are minding your business, If someone ran to you and told you these words, This news was heart breaking. Jesus did not go to see Lazarus immediately but stayed on 4 more days this time Lazarus had died.
When he finally decides to go, His disciples stop him, because his enemies had tried to stone him in Judea the town where this little village of Bethany would be. But he silences them by giving them the news – He told them like this “our friend Lazarus is asleep, but I am going there to wake him, like children they did not understand so they asked if he is asleep, he will get better and wake up, but Jesus tells them plainly Lazarus is dead.
But let’s read this account from verse 17-37
4 days- was long enough to prove that Lazarus was not just sick or asleep, he was dead. There is a conversation that reveals the kind of pain and disillusionment in Martha’s mind-
Lord if you had been here my brother would not have died? There is a lot of teaching here and deep truth, but I wonder if Martha got it or she was just overwhelmed by sorrow. Her answers seemed cut off and rehearsed. Was she just being nice to Jesus or was she expressing something.
Notice how she received Jesus “Lord ….if you had been hear” and Notice how she informes her sister about Jesus “ The teacher is here and is asking for you. There seems that a certain excitement was gone, Jesus had changed from Lord to teacher. Mary also expressed the sense of disappointment in God. It was clear that there was just no hope
Loss has away of disconnecting us from God and others. Our stability is shaken. And one of those ways is through, Loss affects us in the following ways
Doubt– We doubt God’s LOVE and Care, we doubt people. We become intimidated, frightened, weak, vulnerable and worried. We doubt God’s Love, His promises and care, we go through a dullness of mind. This is seen in the statements of “if Only….”. This is usually a refining moment of our beliefs and relationships. We ask the Why questions. We lose Faith.
How to deal with this stage: The answer is not in the why, but in the How?- Focus on the what details of the death, be real about the situation, but also this is when God seems silent. Jesus asked this on his cross, Why have you forsaken me? But heaven was silent. Sometimes we may never the Why questions, but focus on the what and how around the death to help us grieve.
Sorrow– Loss brings sorrow, because something about our stability has been taken away. Our security, peace, provision, freedom. There is a sense of failure, depression, regret and disappointment. There is a sense that we have moved from valid to invalid. We become an embarrassment to others, and sometimes we say the wrong things. We lose our Souls, we stop laughing, smiling or we disconnect from people.
Conflict– Loss can also bring conflicts- Especially where we were unprepared, there is a way broken relationships between families, during readjustments of resources and property. During second attempts to another child, an insensitive comment, a gap, a coldness, a bridge. Because we are unprepared. We lose our peace. Relationships around us can become bitter because of a loss we have gone through.
How are you prepared for LOSS– Have you had those hard discussions of what will loss do to you, strengthen you or weaken you, Should you marry when I die, How have I made it easier for you when I die, What are the convictions we will stand with to see us through Loss. How can we fortify our love to sail us through the tough questions, if I lost my job, my ability to give you a child? Will you still LOVE me, is LOVE still possible?
We can minimize the grief and pain of loss by a good exit plan. The plan is not just what to do but who? The names that will matter, the people that will matter and if so how are you investing in these.
But Jesus did not rebuke their faithlessness, Instead the Bible says when He saw them weeping, he moved closer to where Lazarus was laid and then he became distressed and he wept. Some of the Jews even said see how he loved him.
Please note it was not just a tear drop, But Jesus wept. The indications hear are that he was truly moved with compassion, his presence there was humanly real and he wept. Even though he knew what he was going to do, He allowed the sorrow, pain and humanity of the moment to consume him. He became human and identified with their pain. He expressed his love, not just by fixing the problem but feeling the pain with them.
Today when we go through Pain and Loss we ask the why questions, But God’s answer has always been the How. And that is through his love present and very real in that time.
Rom 5: 3- God has poured out his LOVE.
Now Jesus is not here physically, but His spirit is in us and fellow believers. Just like we say in a wedding Jesus is here, It is also true during loss, that Jesus is here through those who bear his Spirit. When you walk alone in sorrow we lose Faith, we Lose our Souls, We lose our peace. But God has given us the power of LOVE to restore Faith, Restore our Souls and Restore our peace. LOVE is the bride between Loss and Faith
This is how our faith in God is restored when LOVE comes in. When others like Jesus, come and not preach at us, but Cry with us, mourn with us and comfort with us.
LOVE is the power God has given us to heal our losses, restore and strengthens our faith. It is in the deepest sorrows, that we appreciate LOVE better.
LOVE is what restores our Faith in God- Slowly and surely, we begin to see that he truly cares, The faces around us, the tears with us during these times become the faces of Jesus. Reminding us that we have a unity that even death cannot break. Reminding us that if you mourn I mourn with you, because you are part of me. We begin to see God through people, who bear His spirit
LOVE restores our Souls- God has provided these brothers and sisters to surround us again with the sense of being human. We begin to see a smile again, we begin to eat again, we begin to talk again, we begin to walk again. We begin to live again. we begin to feel, desire and hope again.
LOVE restores our Peace- This is perhaps one of the hardest that we may not recover from. The gap will be there and it will be felt economically, physically. Jesus being there through you, staying on after the funeral, visiting, giving a helping hand and guiding others, begins to give them peace. Be there not just when the crisis happens like a reporter, but there to work on the healing process. visit during but also after the funeral. Give a helping hand, buy some shopping, do some chores to help.
So again, How will People know God loves them, through you and I being the Jesus around them especially in times of sorrow and loss.
Spurgeon said “Great hearts can only be made by great troubles; Great faith must have great trial. Calvin Miller said Only the broken bring the flame and Selwyn Hughes writes it’s the heart that is afraid of breaking that never learns to dance/Love.
Have you taken the Soul Group Challenge?