Monday, September 8, 2008

Loss Returned

Come home, hope-filled
prisoners! This very
day I’m declaring
a double bonus—
everything you lost
returned twice-over!

Zechariah 9:12

Loss—it’s everywhere. Homes, bank accounts, jobs, marriages, loved ones, traditions no matter who you talk to they have lost something. And because the surrounding culture is changing so rapidly our loss of what has been or what was becomes even more pronounced. As the level of loss varies so do our reactions to that loss. But the pain that accompanies it is universal. Loss is being slammed into a wall. Spinning and reeling we lose our bearings finding it difficult to focus, imprisoned in our pain.

The Jewish exiles knew a lot about loss. For years they had been prisoners of one regime after another and with each imprisonment a bit more had disappeared. In the midst of all their losses it surely felt as though God had vanished. God, however, reveals himself through Zechariah to faithfully remind them that they will never lose His love, comfort and care.

God never vanishes but sometimes we make an exit from his presence. Bent over in pain we look at our feet, missing God’s loving and comforting gaze. As difficult as it may be when facing loss it is the stories of those who have gone before us that can help us stand straight. The plight of the Israelites is just one story where we can be assured that while we may have lost everything, God is not lost. He promises that everything that is lost will be returned and more. What is returned may look different but it will be much more satisfying.

Loving God, forgive me
when bent in pain
I lose sight of you.
Thank you for offering hope
for a future that is more
than I can see presently.
Artwork--Christ in the Storm on the Lake of Galilee. Rembrandt, 1633. Isabella Gardner Museum

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