Eek! There’s nothing like that childhood feeling of swallowing a barley sugar whole, while doing the 40hr famine (a fast to raise money for charity). That horrible sensation of loss as your only food intake for the next hour disappears abruptly down your windpipe, uncomfortable, foreign and taking with it a strange sense of loss and wasted potential.
It tasted so sweet, you were loving it, savouring every moment of it’s glorious, glucose goodness and then bam! Suddenly it was gone.
Disappointment is a shocker, nothing makes the heart sicker than hope deferred and nothing feels more gut-wrenching than losing something that you didn’t want to lose, something that was of inestimable value to you.
Immediately we rush to make sense of the situation, to reconcile the loss in our personal tally of right and wrong, to decide why this happened, to make it all add up in our heads. We say ‘there will be something better, there must be a reason for this loss’, or ‘God is trying to teach me something’.
While there may be merit in all of those statements, (and I pray for myself as well as you that there could be a better future and you may discover a reason), they do not sum up the whole truth. In reality, there may not be something better, we may never see a reason for the loss, it may remain a mystery for the foreseeable future, or even forever.
Maybe what God can teach us in this, is that sometimes, life just doesn’t make sense to us, and what we need to do is to learn to live alongside that reality.
Mystery is an uncomfortable friend, a lonely bed-partner and cold comfort when things don’t go as we would have loved them to go, but fighting it and railing against it is ultimately a losing battle. Learning to embrace the light and shade, the rises and the falls, the sunshine and rain is a far more long-term solution to the realities of adult life, faith and love.
Its something I am wrestling with at the moment, a deeply challenging path, to have to sit next to loss and make it my friend. I cry, I ache, I ruminate and analyse, but I come back again to these simple truths.
I don’t know, but God loves me. I don’t understand, but God is for me. I can’t grasp the mystery but God is on my side.
If you’re journeying with me on this friends, be encouraged that you’re not alone! I’m sorry I don’t have a clichéd answer for this one, I remain a work in progress, but I’m slowly learning to be OK with that, and maybe that is progress enough.