The Sting of Loss

I huddle up in my old purple sweatshirt in the early morning chill, window wide open to let in the spring air as the birds tweet away, fan humming in its endless circles, never going anywhere but ever blowing the day around, and around, laptop where it belongs, on my lap, and ouch. The sting of loss. Day after day, I sidled up with my laptop, my Bible, my steaming oatmeal in thermal cups beside me, my sweet blessing of a dog on the other side. Jake. Even as he marched on toward heaven as bone cancer ate away at his rear knee, as pain chased after him, as age pursued him, Jake lay by my side. Side by side.

When he could no longer get up on the bed, his favorite place to be, as close to mommy as he could possibly be, I scooted myself down to the floor. I moved my “little office” of laptop, Bible, and oatmeal right beside him. Side by side, we sat on the dog bed together. And I got to tell the world about Jesus through my writing, as Jake made his way toward heaven. And now I sit back on my bed, looking down at where his dog bed was only two days ago. No Jake. No, Jake is with Jesus.

My sweet Jake, with his nose in the Bible,
weeks before he went to heaven to wait for me there…….

And I am, with tears flooding my eyes and pain piercing my heart, still telling the world about Jesus. Because there are only two things I know to do when loss stings. When loss tears away at my heart. I can surrender to the loss, or I can surrender to the Lord. I can give my heart to the loss to consume me, or I can give my heart to the Lord. I can be swallowed up in grief, and I have known much grief in my life, or I can be swallowed up in the love of the Lord. I have lived most of my life in the former. Today, I choose the latter. I choose the Lord.

This does not mean that loss does not continue to sting, and that grief does not continue to bear down on me. This does not mean that hurt does not come at me in waves, and tears, and sadness. No, of course not. Loss has its sting. But when I put my hurt, and I put my heart, in the hands of the Lord, His mercy, His grace, His comfort, and above all else His love, remind me of this.

When I was a child, I sat right on a bee. And oh how it stung. I jumped up in pain and danced around with a shout, from what I can recall. Oh, the sting of the bee! Loss has its sting, but the sting is temporal. It is ephemeral. There is one who is forever. The one who offers eternal life to those who repent of their sins and believe He, the Son of God, died on the cross and rose again. It is in Him I place my trust, my faith, my heart, and yes, even my loss.

And for all the loss I have endured, most recently of my precious dog Jake, the loss is nothing when compared with the immeasurable gain of Christ – of eternal life with the Lord. Where tears will not reign, where loss will be no longer, and where I will bow down before the most beloved one I have gained. The Lord!

I can only imagine my sweet Jake, my dear Red, my Beckles with Speckles, and Billie, and Angel Gabriel and Mother Theresa and Sweetie Pies, and Abigail, and Punky, and Joshua, and St. Francis, and all my other beloved dogs, are running around with Jesus waving their paws at me from heaven. Reminding me, loss hurts, and how it hurts.

But the Lord is greater than loss. And He is forever. And one day I will be with Him, forever. In the meantime, He is with me as I carry on – not drowning in the loss, but rising up in His strength to continue telling the world. Repent, and believe the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For no loss can compare with the everlasting beauty of spending eternity with the Lord!

“When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:
“Death is swallowed up in victory.”
55“O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”
56The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

58Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” 1 Corinthians 15:55-58 ESV
“…if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.11For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” Romans 10:9-11
“…and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”” Mark 1:15 NASB

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