By Bob Simpson, BCM/D Associate Executive Director and Editor of BaptistLIFE
The writer of Ecclesiastes said there is a time for every activity under heaven and a season for everything that happens. And for each of us there comes, or will come, the season of loss. It’s sobering when you look around and realize that very few things in this life are permanent. In his famous poem, C.T. Studd wrote, “Only one life, ‘twill soon be past. Only what’s done for Christ will last.”
Life is full of change and challenges. Just about the time we think we have everything in order, something changes, and our life is suddenly different because of something we’ve lost. We know that we can lose that which makes us feel secure. If you don’t believe that, ask someone how their 401K is doing. We can lose our health. We can lose our job. We can lose our loved ones. There are so many things we can lose.
In Ecclesiastes 8:14 it says, “Sometimes something useless happens on earth: bad things happen to good people, and good things happen to bad people.” (NVC). It seems totally useless when either one of these occur.” Why do these things happen? Why must losses come?
The answer is that we live in a fallen world. The Bible certainly doesn’t pull any punches about this. It is clear that life is not a fairytale. We all grew up with the children’s song: “Row, row, row your boat gently down the stream. Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a dream.” No it’s not! Life is not a perfect simplistic dream. The reality is that when sin entered the world, the world became imperfect resulting in a chain reaction of sowing and reaping. And sometimes it’s not only what you sow, but it’s what you suffer due to what others have sown.
Another reason for loss is that we live in a free world. God has given freedom of choice to every individual. Of course God could stop drive-by shootings. He could stop genocide and war. But if He did that He would have to take away the freedom of choice from those who commit those evil acts. And if He took away their freedom of choice He would have to take away yours as well.
It is not my intent to try to explain all the mysteries of life’s losses to you. Some things we will not fully know until we get to Heaven. In fact, the Apostle Paul said that until then we are going to see “through a glass darkly,” a glass that for now is cloudy and smoky.
When good things happen to you, it’s called grace. When bad things happen to you, it’s called life. Life happens. That’s why we buy insurance policies. Some insurance policies even protect against “acts of God.” Of course, they mean things like tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, etc. Actually none of these are acts of God. An act of God is when a lost child is found. An act of God is when you hold a little baby for the very first time. An act of God is when a marriage is put back together. An act of God is when someone is converted by faith and becomes a follower of Jesus Christ.
Loss, like life, happens. Just ask the folks in Japan. One day things are fine and the next day you experience the most powerful earthquake in recent history followed by a tsunami and the possibility of a nuclear meltdown.
But grace also happens. God always acts in the midst of our loss!