I have been thinking about why this loss has left me feeling so sad. I know it is deeper than missing a dog that was such a joy and blessing to us. I thought about the recent losses of some friends at Valley have experienced and then I began to think back over 25 years of pastoral ministry; having to say goodbye to so many friends / family. Our lives are filled with losses. Sometimes they come in waves; sometimes those losses can be overwhelming / all-consuming. There can be a sense of deep sorrow, even hopelessness. We wonder if we can make it through another day.
As I reflected on this reality I have had to cycle back to a truth that has sustained me in times of loss. I have had to remind myself that God is a work, even in the hard things that come into our lives; that His kingdom will prevail. And, in God’s kingdom loss does not get the last word. The destructive nature of cancer / other illnesses does not get the last word; death / grave does not get the last word. God gets the last word and the last word is one of great hope!
One day every loss will be redeemed, every wound will be healed and every tear will be dried. What a day, what day that will be! Until that day we have this incredible thing called hope, to which we cling.
J.I. Packer has written: The death of hope has a killing effect on human minds and hearts. ‘While there’s life, there’s hope’ we say; but the deeper truth is that only while there is hope, is there life. Take away hope, and life, with all it’s fascinating variety of opportunities and experiences, reduces to mere existence—uninteresting, un-gratifying, bleak, drab and repellent; a burden and a pain.
The writer of Proverbs puts it this way: Hope deferred makes the heart sick. (Proverbs 13:12)
The Bible says, Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. (Isaiah 40:31)
The eyes of the LORD are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love. (Psalm 33:18)
We wait in hope for the LORD; he is our help and our shield. (Psalm 33:20)
The LORD delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love. (Psalm 147:11)
In this world we will endure trials, we will face losses but in Christ we have the sure promise that one day hope will prevail. We are never without hope!
We have this hope which is a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul. (Hebrews 6:19)
And so, for me and or you, my friends at Valley, I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him
better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you. (Ephesians 1:17-18)