Nobody likes this word… or the feeling. We fear loss, whether losing a possibility such as a dream or experiencing a loss that is much more tangible such as a child. Two weeks ago I lost part of a finger while serving on a mission trip in Mexico. Part of the pain of this experience has been grieving losing a body part- flesh and bone- that I have had with me 35 years. I look different, I feel different, and I have less ability… for now. Much like losing a daughter, a primary focus of this blog, losing a part of my body has been a stark reminder (not that I needed one!) that loss hurts. It is supposed to hurt. So much of the Bible is loaded with texts dripping with tears and oozing with pain.
In contrast, it feels great to find an old friend, a missing wallet, or a renewed sense of purpose. In the Bible Hannah longed for a baby. She prayed… she waited… year after year after year. She grieved the loss of a dream, until the Lord blessed her with a little boy. Nice endings are nice, but this is not the end of the story. At around age 3 Hannah and her husband gave their son away and experienced a new tangible loss (see 1 Samuel 1:1-2:11 for the entire story).
Ever leave the hospital without a baby in your arms but with a lump in your throat? Many reading this blog know this kind of loss. Hannah felt these emotions too as she said goodbye to her son and thankfully, while still swimming in hurt, the Bible provides us her raw, honest, and insightful prayer to God.
By the way, what would you say to God in her shoes? If you’ve been in her shoes what have you said to Him? Would you listen, yell, curse, cry, or walk away? Hannah praised God in prayer. Now before you groan, gag, or move on from this blog give her a moment to speak. Why did she praise God? She noted four reasons to praise God in the midst of loss:
· She had a foundation- First, she called the Lord her “Rock” (2:2). When she felt like she was drowning the truth was that she was secure in the Lord.
· She was known- It is comforting to be known. Your tears are collected and your sorrows are not ignored by God. As Hannah prayed, “the Lord is the God who knows.”
· She had hope- With God there is always hope as His character is One that often reverses human circumstances, humbling the proud and exalting the humble.
· She knew God heals- More specifically, she knew healing was found in the Lord as she said, “It is not by strength that one prevails.”
I have a temporary handicap. I just learned typing this note that I can no longer naturally type the letter “I”. This is a loss. Yet the Lord prompted me to let this serve as a reminder not to allow my focus to remain on “I” but on Him- a lesson I need to keep coming back to. Thanks to the Lord that in the midst of our losses, which we all experience in life, He provides nuggets of hope and healing ready to be found.