To Suffer Loss

For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed
(Isaiah 53:2-5).

The couple did not expect anything was wrong. The pregnancy carried to its full term and there had been no sign of any trouble. But their hearts were broken when the time finally came to give birth to triplets, and all three were still-born. The announcer on the radio related the story to listeners and followed up by asking us to remember the couple in prayer. And so I explained to my son what “still born” meant, and answered his resulting questions as best as I could, and then we prayed for God’s comforting hand to be on those who had suffered loss.
I remember a time myself, wherein my family had to struggle with the loss of a loved one. It was during a visit to my parent’s home when as my sister was making her way back to the house after dropping off a friend, a drunk driver swerved across the highway centerline and hit her head on. She was killed instantly. Sure we thank God she is a Christian and that we shall see her again, but I have never seen or known so great a sorrow as I experienced, and as I saw experienced in my parents.
The residual effects linger on. We have all been changed in some fashion and regardless of what anyone will ever think or say, life for my family will never be the same--there’s a hole that we will feel in my sister’s absence until we are re-united with her in heaven.
So many people suffer similar events, and so many this very day will suffer loss. My thoughts draw back to the prayer request for the couple, and compel me to seek the same from all of us today, that we might stop and pray for those who this very day will suffer loss.
My thoughts are also drawn to another time. A time wherein the God of heaven saw the suffering of humanity, and made preparations to send His own Son as the answer to our suffering. And knowing ahead of time that His Son would be sadistically crucified at the age of 33, He did not change His mind but was willing to give His only begotten Son up for us all. It was not simply a gesture of love, it was what had to be done to make a way for us to be re-united with our Heavenly Father. But it took greater love to do this than any of us should ever hope to understand.
My wife and I at times will playfully swap punches--I punch her softly, and she hits with the most of her strength. If however, I increase the force of my punch a little, she will quickly remind me that I am a guy and I should remember that I can take it better than she can. But with her, as with my kids, sometimes they forget that Dad can get hurt too.
My point is this: sometimes we consider our suffering and somehow lose sight that our Lord has suffered. He seems to us to be so much bigger and stronger, and so it is so easy to forget His sorrows and sense of loss--a sense of loss that is no doubt felt every time a lost soul dies.
As we approach Christmas, let us consider this: Our Lord has taken upon Himself our sin, our suffering, and our sorrows. This does not negate our feelings and pains, but it validates them--and more importantly--it points the way to the very One who can help us press onward through our times of sudden loss.

Sudden Loss

Sudden loss could not be any less.
It's knock precedes no idle chat,
no talk of how the weather's soon to change.
Instead, it is a hurricane
that curves, and swerves
to crash upon some piece of land
that everyone thought safe.
Then lifts and swoons and sways,
pressing panic through fragile walls,
to shake the ground
beneath consistency of homes
abandoned to the care
of boiling pots
and dangling phones.
And left behind within it's wake,
a mangled mesh of flesh and steel,
contorted, distorted, twisted so
that nothing now makes sense.
And in the eye where sight
has been restored,
to look behind, or look ahead,
reveals no promises
of brighter days to come.
but promises instead
of pending storm.

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