Life is full of losses – absolutely nothing around you is permanent. We all go through seasons of grief, tragedy, and loss. You could lose your finances, your job, your health, your marriage, and even loved ones who die. You need to be prepared to handle losses in your life.
There are 5 Steps that help you prepare to deal with the losses in your life and I will get to them in just a moment.
First you must come to grips with the following statement: Life is unfair – it is not a fairy tale where everything ends happily ever after
Ecclesiastes 8:14 teaches them when it says, “sometimes something useless happens on Earth. Bad things happen to good people and good things happen to bad people.”
2 Truths to Understand:
- We do not always get what we deserve in life – there is a myth that all bad things happen to us because we are bad and all good things happen to us when we are good. This is false. When good things happen to you in life that is called “God’s Grace.” When bad things happen to you it is called “life”. We do not live in a perfect world – this is not Heaven
Luke 13 teaches – “What about those innocent people who were butchered in the hills? Was it because of sin? NO! Not everything bad that happens in life is your own fault.”
- Not everything that happens is God’s will. God gives us free will to make our own choices. The Bible says that God is not the author of evil. He grieves as much as we do when bad things happen to us, yet He keeps a watchful eye on how we deal with these bad things and the power we give them.
God could stop drive by shooters, but in order to do so and remain the fair God He is by His very nature, He would then have to take all free will from every person. This is never what God intended.
God has a will for our lives, but we have our own wills as well and we often choose to go our own way instead of God’s way. When this happens people always end up getting hurt.
5 Things The Bible Says to Do When You Encounter Loss
- Release your grief – tragedy always releases strong emotions and they must be set free. Loss, anger, fear, depression, worry, guilt all come with a major loss.
If you do not deal with them now, they grow in size and take longer to deal with in the future.
If you don’t deal with your emotions now you are a “stuffer” – you suppress your emotions in order to make others happy or to keep the peace and that is why years later you’re still struggling with losses that occurred in your life 20-30 years ago
There is another myth that God wants us to walk around with a smile on our faces and be outwardly happy all the time. This is false. God wants you to be real with Him and with others about how you are feeling.
Jesus teaches in Matthew 5: – “Blessed are those who mourn their losses, for they will be comforted.” It is OK to grieve.
Release your grief – do not suppress it (keep it down), do not rehearse it (go over and over it in your mind), you release it – you give it to God:
“God I am grieving here and I am hurting here and I need for you to help me deal with what is happening to me mentally and physically”
Much of the Book of Psalms is David crying out to God when he was grieving or hurting:
Psalms 62:8 – “Pour out your heart to God for He is our refuge”
Psalm 34:18 – “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit”
If you do not release your grief it will come out eventually – it will come exploding out of you in ways that are going to be hurtful to yourself and to others. Harsh language, bad behavior, and hurtful actions.
- Receive from other people
Galatians 6:2 – “Carry each other’s burdens. By helping each other with your troubles you obey the laws of Christ”
This goes against our natures because when we have been hurt or have had a loss we naturally want to pull inside ourselves to hide the hurt or grief.
You not only need the support of other people, but you also need the perspective of other people. When you are in the middle of a loss you do not see the entire picture – you only see your side of it. Pain narrows your focus and you need others to help you see the big picture.
Let other people help you, let them comfort you, let them sit with you and just listen, let them offer their perspectives on your situation, let them grieve with you and do not be embarrassed about it.
It is imperative to have someone you can share lifes losses with. If you do not have this type of person, your brain always knows that you are in your hurts alone and therefore it will suppress things for you, which is always bad. We need others to climb into the wells of life with us.
Hebrews 12 – “Look after each other so that not one of you will fail to find God’s best blessings”
- Refuse to be bitter
Job 21:25 – “Some people have no happiness at all. They live and die with bitter hearts”
You will decide in your life whether you want to be bitter or whether you want to be happy. Yes this is a choice you make. You decide what impact things will have in your life and how you will react to them and how much power you will give them.
You cannot be bitter and happy at the same time – you are ever always one or the other. Will you be bitter, or better?
There is no correlation between your happiness and your circumstances. I have met people who were raised in a ghetto, do not know who their real parents are, were forced to grow up in a society with little means to succeed, yet have the most positive outlook and the strongest faith you have ever seen. Why? Because this is how they choose to live. They choose happiness – not bitterness.
I have also met people who have had virtually no major issues or problems at all, yet they constantly whine about everything. Why? Because they choose bitterness over happiness.
You are as happy as you choose to be because happiness is a choice – you can learn to be happy in any situation. Most of the world would love to have your problems because they have it much worse than you do.
“I use to complain I had no shoes until I met a man with no legs.” – Anonymous
Bitterness causes you to get so self-centered that you lose your perspective on how much good there is in the world and just have grateful you should be for what you have and more importantly the people in your life.
Hebrews 12:15 – “Watch out that no bitterness takes root among you. It causes deep trouble hurting many in their spiritual lives”
2 Ways To Peace:
- Accept what cannot be changed
Job 11 – “Reach out to God then face the world again firm and courageous”
Faith does not mean ignoring reality and pretending that something is not that bad.
Faith is not denying reality
Faith is refusing to be discouraged in the face of reality
Its not pretending you do not have a problem, it refusing to be discouraged in spite of the problem
Emotional maturity means you realize that the most important things in your life are beyond your control
Sometimes the only way to manage an unmanageable situation is through acceptance of it
Acceptance is the first way to peace with loss
- Look at what is left instead of what has been lost
1 Thessalonians 5:18 – “No matter what happens always be thankful – for this is God’s will for you”
You do not need to be thankful for the problem – be thankful for what you have left.
Be thankful that God specializes in bringing the good out of the bad – God specializes in resurrections. Lazarus, Jesus, your marriage
Your past is past and nothing is going to change it
Choose to focus on Gods goodness
If you are depressed or discouraged – the antidote to this is gratitude
Make a list of 100 things you can be thankful for – your still alive, you have God, you have freedom in America, you have children, you have a way to get help when you need it, you have your health, etc.
4) You need to remember what is important in a loss
Losses have a way of putting everything into perspective. They clarify your values, they help you figure out priorities, they help you figure out what matters most.
Luke 12:15 – Jesus said, “Life is not measured by how much one owns”
Don’t confuse your net worth, or your job, with your self worth
Don’t confuse your possessions with your position in Christ and your purpose
Don’t confuse what your living on with what your living for
Now that you are where you are, what matters most to you?
– Being thought of well at work?
– Having a huge home and an incredibly awesome car?
– Being seen as a status symbol to others around you?
The greatest things in life aren’t things, what really matters is relationships and people
1 Timothy 6:7 – “We brought nothing into the world and we will take nothing out of it”
You have never seen a hearse pulling a U-Haul. Instead, build your life around things that cannot be taken from you? Can your job be taken from you? Yes. Can your home be taken from you? Yes. Can your friends just up and leave you? Yes.
You cant build your life on something that is not going to last. Your relationship to God cannot be taken away from you, not can your love for one another. Only you say whether these things last or not.
5) Rely on Christ
Philippians 4:13 – “I have learned the secret of being happy at any time in everything that happens. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
If you rely on yourself, you will ultimately fail – we were never made to succeed in our own strength – we were meant to rely on Jesus
The key to crisis control is Christ control – put Jesus in control and things will be ok
How do we rely on Christ:
1) Lean on Christ for stability
A major loss knocks us for a loop and Jesus gives us stability because He is stronger than you
Psalm 125:1 – “Those who trust in the Lord are as steady as mountains and unmoved by any circumstance”
“The Lord gives true peace to those who depend on Him”
Psalm 112 – “Such a person will not be overthrown by evil circumstances”
“You are amazed at how strong you really are when God is in you” – Auschwitz death camp survivor
2) Listen to Christ for direction
You need guidance and God wants to help.
Jeremiah 29:11 – “I know what I am planned for you says the Lord. I have good plans for you, not plans to hurt you.”
“God lead me, direct me, guide me as I move forward from this loss”
3) Look to Christ for salvation
What is salvation? Salvation is “freedom” or “liberty”
With Jesus, no situation is hopeless
Jonah 2:7 – “When I have lost all hope, I once again turn my thoughts to the Lord”
With lots of love and prayers for hope for you in your life as you deal with your losses,
Pastor Brad Komgenick
God’s Light Christian Counseling