Friday, September 17, 2010

Double Returns

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 loss 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 were intimate with 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 felt as though God had vanished. God, however, speaks to Zechariah, telling him to faithfully remind them that they will never lose His love, comfort and care.

God never vanishes but sometimes I exit his presence. Bent over in pain I look at my 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 me that can help me stand up straight. The plight of the Israelites is just one story where I can be assured that while I may have lost everything, God is not lost. He promises that everything that is lost will be returned and more. What is returned may not look the way I expected 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.

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