When you suffer and lose, that does not mean you are being disobedient to God. In fact, it might mean you’re right in the centre of His will. The path of obedience is often marked by times of suffering and loss.~ Chuck Swindoll
Loss is something we all have to face from time to time. We can lose a loved one, we can lose our job; the list can go on and on. Grieving is the natural part of loss. We all grieve in different ways. Some people drink, some people pray, some bury their grief deep inside. Loss is not a simple thing that we can deal with. It’s a hard thing.
While reading through John, I read chapter 19 where Jesus is crucified. We always focus on Jesus’ death on the cross, but never really think about what the disciples were going through. They had to have been feeling not just grief, but some major regret. They pretty much did nothing to help Jesus out. Which thank God they didn’t because scripture would not have been fulfilled and Jesus would not have been who He claimed Himself to be. Peter had to have been devastated emotionally because he denied Jesus three times. If you think about it, the disciples were at their lowest point. Sometimes when we are dealing with loss we have other factors than just grief to worry about. We have regret, maybe shame and and if we allow it to fester we have bitterness. The interesting thing about bitterness is if we allow it to continue we can miss God’s blessings in our lives to restore us to a better place than where we first began. It’s human nature to blame God for things that go wrong in our lives. I can attest to that feeling this week when a friend of mine had been dealing with breast cancer and finally got a no evidence of disease report from the doctor. She then had a seizure this week and found out that she had a lesion of cancer on her brain. I sat and thought this is all unfair, what is God doing? God is not the architect of all the things that go wrong in our lives. When Adam sinned he gave up the keys to life and death to satan. God is there to raise us up and make us better people by allowing things that He knows we can handle.
I see several blessings that the disciples in John 20 experienced. The first blessing is what Jesus told them would happen, their grief would turn to joy. When they discovered Jesus was risen from the dead, joy filled their hearts. Joy after a loss is something that can be hard to see. God can do this through a person or maybe an awesome circumstance that comes into your life. Sometimes the joy comes right away, sometimes it may come later. Another factor is when you look back you can see what God was doing; your response will be joy. God does not want us to sit in the sadness that comes with loss.
The next blessing I see here is peace. When the disciples saw Jesus for the first time, Jesus would say, “Peace be with you.” The reason He said this was because He just rose from the dead and anyone seeing Him was prone to freak out. That is just one aspect of the peace, He also gave them peace in the very fact that He rose from the dead. He showed them that He was who He said He was, the son of God. He still gives us that peace today and that peace is the Holy Spirit as He says in John 20. God’s Holy Spirit is there to give us strength and peace in our lives if we are in tune to Him.
The last blessing is that of hope. Later in the chapter Thomas had to see for himself that Jesus rose from the dead; he had to touch Jesus’ hands and side. When he realized that Jesus was who He said He was, Thomas said, “My Lord and My God.” We focus on how Thomas doubted, but not on his statement of hope. Jesus is our savior, but more importantly He is our Lord. To really see that hope and to really believe it, we need to put our faith into action. As Hudson Taylor put it,
“Christ is either Lord of all, or He is not Lord at all.”
Thomas knew who was Lord and because of that, had this amazing hope in his life.
As we experience loss, we know that God is not going to keep us at that low level. God is all about turning a sad situation around and giving us joy, peace and hope. He gives us the strength and the people we need to get us through these times. God is always there for us, we just have to look and to seek Him. Always know that with any kind of loss, restoration is around the corner.