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Coping with loss

Judging by the response to my post yesterday, I hit a nerve. People who invested in losing candidates are licking their wounds and trying to make sense of this new reality. Some have a deep sense of loss. I want to suggest that you have to cope with whatever it was that you lost before you mov…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes

Judging by the response to my post yesterday, I hit a nerve. People who invested in losing candidates are licking their wounds and trying to make sense of this new reality. Some have a deep sense of loss.

I want to suggest that you have to cope with whatever it was that you lost before you move on. Life is like that – we need to feel and not repress.

The good news is, we are hard-wired to hope. When we experience loss, we look for redemption. All the heroes in the Bible suffered great loss and redemption.

Adam lost perfection, Noah lost the dry earth, Abraham lost his home, Moses lost his reputation, David lost his best friend, and Jesus lost his life.

The pain of loss is a universal part of the human condition. Religions like Hinduism and Islam try to explain the vagaries of loss with concepts of karma and fatalism. Only Jesus introduced redemption into the equation.

The key to understanding the kingdom is to look for the grace notes of redemption behind every story of loss. We, with the disciples, look for the kingdom in the political arena. But when he described the kingdom, Jesus talked about lost things: pearls, sheep, and treasures.  Their value was restored when they were found.

If we will stop viewing life from the standpoint of the loser and the victim and begin anticipating the ways in which Jesus will redeem them, we can begin to act as the kingdom citizens he intended us to be.

Yes, to be human is to lose. We lose our jobs, our health, our loved ones, and eventually our lives. But we belong to a redeemer. We sat forlorn and forgotten in the pawnshop of hell and he strode in, paid the full price and redeemed us. That's the meta-story that you can find everywhere in the kingdom of God.

And here's the news I really love: We, the redeemed, get to partner with him in bringing the magic of redemption to a lost world.

What have you lost lately? How might God be redeeming that loss?

Comments (9)

  • Thanks Seth. I’m thrilled at the election results and was honored to consult with the White House Office on Community and Faith Based Initiatives. Having said that I also know my hope is in heaven and I am a sojourner on the earth. Life is short and we do well to remember that what we do in this life reverberates throughout eternity.

    Blessings friend.

  • I have thought in the past about what this country’s citizens felt around the turn of the last century when immigrants from Europe came here in droves. The change to the complexion of the country was not always welcomed; the Irish in particular were persecuted. Once again I see the complexion of our nation changing as more Latinos come to our country and the Caucasians diminish in prominence. This takes a mental adjustment from what we know our country to be.

    Also the culture is turning much more liberal than even 20 years ago. The changes are staggering and take time to mentally assimilate. I don’t mind change but I do find it difficult to lose the standards of morality that are biblical. So my question is, where do we go from here? I saw something yesterday where someone called themselves a “Liberal Christian” and that they had won the election. What’s a liberal christian? And are we to bend our moral standards in order to be inclusive? I am confused. And I am dealing with the loss of ‘normal’. I’m not sure I’m all in with the ‘new normal’.

  • Diane,

    Good processing. Christians have always been in the minority, usually as a strange group – a remnant. My view is that there never was a “moral majority” that represented Jesus. There were just people who were cultural Christians, finding their security in rules. People who needed to be shaken up.

    To the extent I’ve relied on government or the norms it enforced for security instead of Jesus, and to the extent that that is now changing, it’s a good thing.

    This shaking up will be good for us Christians as they turn to the one place where they can get perspective and true identity.

  • Seth, I love the points about”loss”. Its not only losses in death of a loved one, we lose each day our character, money, relationships in friendship,things,memories,& memory’S, when we don’t live with our moral Christian values that we learn through God’s Word. Just because the culture changes, doesn’t mean the popular culture is the
    way God wants us to live. Just as a parent teaches his child rules for the child’s well being, so we get our moral Godly values from God’s Word. Just because the majority of New ways are coming into America, doesn’t mean we should as Christians, jump on board to be people pleasers & follow the crowd. I may lose many personal friends,& be tempted by the visual scenes, but if I keep my focus on the one who “created” me, I will have “hope” for the future. Thank you for reinforcing dealing with loss.

  • Seth, I REALLY appreciate you creating a forum to discuss what has and will transpire in the years to come. I sometimes feel like no one is paying attention to what is truly important. This forum helps me feel I’m not alone which is grounding.

  • Just read a book from Beth Moore, and shares a conversation she had with God about her worst fears.

    When she finally had the courage to voice them to Him, He responded “So what if those things happen?”. She was taken off guard by that question because she wanted to hear that they never would, but God didn’t say that.

    Instead, He asked her to think through each one of those things actually happening. In the end, she realized that she knew God would carry her through every scenario and that He would bring it back to good.

    She said that taking the time to think all the way through those fears changed her question from “What will I do if __________ happens?” to “What will God do if ___________ happens?”.

    That shift of perspective changes everything.

    So, what will God do if your worst fear comes to pass?

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.



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