We are near the end of the Christian season of Lent, a time to ponder the positive meaning of loss.
Loss is just not welcomed anywhere. My wife and I see this reality each year when we teach as Christian people in a Buddhist country, Cambodia. Cambodians don’t like the pain of loss any more than Americans. This aversion to pain is human. Loss. Ugh. So many people conclude that the world as we know it cannot possibly reflect the intention of a God who is loving. The unexpected loss of a healthy young teen in our Upstate NY community brought this home to me. How can the world we live in make sense?
People everywhere ask the same question. When we are in Cambodia we always ask people why they became Christians. The second most common answer is that the Death and Resurrection of Jesus helps them deal with the pain of loss. Like people all over the world, Cambodians feel terribly alone at times when they allow themselves to be aware of their pain. Yet Christians view the world though the eyes of a risen Lord. We are never alone. No one can change what is done. Still, God brings healing to broken hearts. The Bible provides many helps.
Loss means we all have a decision to make. Passionate attachment of people, ideas, ambitions, hopes and dreams will cost us something.
We just will become frustrated, upset or feel completely alone at time. On the other hand, we experience excitement, challenge, victory and fellowship. So are the gains worth it?
Jesus thought that deep attachment to his Disciples and to us was worth the pain. The Resurrection shows us that pain never defines us. There is always a next chapter. A new door opens. We step into a new opportunity each time until the end. They we step through the door of eternity.
Jesus offers life without the fear of being overwhelmed. I think that is more than a small gift. I am so grateful. Loss is never the final word. The presence of God and of others who will sit with us in our grief resolves our loneliness. Pain is not king. The Resurrection always comes.