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Loss and redemption

We think it’s funny to make light of another person’s incompetence. We make our thumb and forefinger into the shape of an “L” and proclaim them a “Loser.”  To be a loser means to suffer loss, losing something of value whether a game or one’s dignity.   Yet as I reflect on yesterda…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes
We think it’s funny to make light of another person’s incompetence. We make our thumb and forefinger into the shape of an “L” and proclaim them a “Loser.”  To be a loser means to suffer loss, losing something of value whether a game or one’s dignity.
Yet as I reflect on yesterday’s blog subject – despair, I can only conclude that 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 we, the redeemed, get to partner with him in bringing the magic of redemption to a lost world.

Comments (8)

  • This is brilliant, Seth. Inspiring.

    Like many people, I’ve felt the weight of loss so often and sometimes utterly crushingly, yet the thing that keeps me going in the end is the “but God” of the Psalmist. At times it would all be over “but God.” The Psalmists pour out their laments, frustrations, pain and disillusion and then flick it around with that final verse at the end where they say “but God” or “yet God.”

    He is the hope inspirer that makes the full stop back into a comma. A mere pause in the sentence, not the end. You’re absolutely right. Redeemer is His name. And in His image we are.

    Thanks Seth – you just reminded me of the flip side of the coin.

  • St. Mark of the Cross

    There are no losers in the Body of Christ. And every one of us Christians are not allowed to audition for the “Survivor” shows, because we are more than conquerors in Christ. Yes, loss can be difficult, but I go back to Corrie Ten Boone who said “…the pit is never so deep, that God is not deeper still…” It is so with the times we are living in – Corrie by grace was able to say that God is love, despite the horrors of Ravensbruck. And after the “losses” during WWII, she traversed the earth preaching the great goodness of our winner God. His kingdom is not of the world type – let us see thus.

  • Redeemed from the “pawnshop” for a very high price! We are valued treasures that He paid it ALL for! What else matters folks!! Everything else is temporary, short and redeemable if we let Him. Lets just keep our eyes on the prize!!!

  • Matthew 12:28-29 “But if I drive out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.

    “Or again, how can anyone enter a strong man’s house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man? Then he can rob his house.”

    I heard a sermon by Greg Boyd once on the aspect of atonement emphasizing Christ’s victory over sin, death and Satan.

    He used this scripture in part of his sermon and said something to the effect of “Christ has tied up the strong man and He has invited us to plunder the house with Him”

    I think it is ridiculously exciting to go and found what has been lost, repair what has been broken and enjoy what has been put together.

    My friend Trent Sheppard in YWAM said it well “There is too much beauty and too much pain in the world to ever be bored again”


  • God let me experience loss at a very young age. Through a very powerful evening in prayer He unearthed the depth of loss in my spririt and the raw pain I felt as a baby as my mother walked off and left me in a home, Ive never seen her since.

    Later, the family that adopted me rejected me as I wasnt the daughter they wanted. With that came the loss of a brother, Aunts, cousins, uncles.

    When my 1st born son was born the Lord said “He is your 1st born he belongs to me”, already I lost my child to someone else before I got too attached (although the Lord can gladly have him some days as He can for the rest of my kids!)

    Loss is a good thing in my oppinion.It only hurts if you hold on to something too tight, if you let go its less painful.

    God is the only one we shouldnt lose, all else belongs to Him. Even life itself belongs to Him so we havent realy got any right to moan if He decides to take it back.

  • i usually love all your stuff, but this is beautiful.

    i think, particularly, because the Lord spoke the theme of redemption so powerfully to me last year in Cambodia.

    magical. good word.

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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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