Here in my part of North Carolina, the first blooms of spring are over. Forsythias have long since traded their gold for green. Dogwoods and cherries are putting away the last of their pink and white.
Yet many flowers are still blooming, or just now joining the show. And summer is on its way.
In our ever-changing lives, the passing of good things is often harder to accept than the fading of spring flowers. Not only do such passings have greater bearing on our hearts and circumstances, but they also seldom give way to obvious fruit and new growth.
Trusting God’s purposes is hard enough when bad things invade our lives. But what about when good things leave? When instead of facing an enemy, we face simply…emptiness?
We lose a loved one. We lose a job. We lose a dream. We lose—or never see—the fruit of our work for God and others. We don’t feel His presence the way we want. And yet the Bible says He rewards those who seek Him.
We may never have all the answers to the questions surrounding our losses. We may not even have a clear idea of where we go from here.
But there are some things we can cling to and find hope in, even in the emptiness.
Here are three of them:
Your story isn’t over.
When something we treasure or rely on vanishes, the loss can be overwhelming. We may feel like all our life’s potential has gone with it, or like nothing as good will ever enter our lives again.
Yet as hard as it may be to see at the time, our lives aren’t over. We aren’t over. Most importantly, God, the Source of goodness, isn’t over.
We may have lost a part of our lives—or, like Job, many parts. But something is left. And the eternal God, “who gives life to the dead and calls things into existence that do not exist” (Romans 4:17, CSB), holds that something in His hands.
This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t grieve. It doesn’t mean we shouldn’t take time to process. Grief is real. Like any wound, those left by loss need time and care to heal. And in some cases the ache never fully leaves.
Yet even as we grieve the loss of what has or could have been, we can look ahead to fresh goodness to come. Instead of giving up in despair, we can inch forward in hope. Instead of clenching our fists in bitterness, we can open them and hold them out to God, trusting He will fill them again.
He doesn’t promise to fill them in ways we want or expect. He doesn’t promise the next thing He gives will last longer or satisfy us more than the previous one.
But He promises that His goodness and mercy will always catch up to us when we need them. That we will glimpse the goodness of the Lord in this world.
And in the world to come, those who put their faith in Jesus will live with Him and each other forever in unimaginable glory—and sorrow, suffering, sin, and death will be no more.
God’s favor is constant for those in Christ.
Sometimes we’re tempted to measure God’s approval by how our lives are going. We might not go so far as to count our blessings as rewards for God-pleasing behavior. But when we lose those blessings, we might wonder if God is unhappy with them or us—or if maybe He loves us less than we thought.
To be clear, God does discipline His children when they need it. He will point out and correct attitudes and actions that He does disapprove of. And sometimes He removes things from our lives that are harming us or hindering us from Him.
But not every season of suffering is an act of divine discipline. Not every loss is a sign we’ve messed up. Sometimes He allows us to lose perfectly good, healthy things that we were stewarding in healthy, God-pleasing ways, for reasons only He understands.
And no matter what we go through or why, we in Christ can rest assured that we’ll never lose our standing in God’s eyes. Christ paid for all our sins, completely and forever. We stand before God wearing His righteousness—a righteousness that never fades.
God will continue shaping us into Christ’s image for as long as we live. But He will never approve of us less or more than He did the moment we put our faith in Jesus—no matter what we think our experiences say. He will never love us less or more—because He already loves us fully.
And our losses can’t change that.
Our greatest blessing is God Himself.
God gives us many good things. We owe every one of our blessings to Him. And many of us are rightfully thankful.
But none of these things are the ultimate answer to all our questions and problems. They aren’t meant to meet all our needs and desires—nor can they.
We were made for our Maker. Only He can truly, fully satisfy us.
These gifts are like love letters. As precious as they are, they ultimately point us and draw us toward something else: the God who gives them. In fact, that’s what makes them truly precious.
Life itself is one big opportunity to know Him. The beauty and complexity of the natural world testify to His power, skill, and creativity. The love of others gives us a murky glimpse of His love. Talents and abilities enable us to show that love to others.
And when we put our faith in Jesus, we aren’t simply spared judgment—we’re made right with God, given full access to Him, adopted into His family, promised eternal life with Him.
And while we’re not guaranteed prosperity, people, protection, a peaceful life, even a flourishing ministry, we are guaranteed God Himself.
His presence with us—all of Him, every moment, always—is ours in Jesus.
When our hands empty of blessings, we can hold onto Him and all that He is. When we have nothing else to thank Him for, we can thank Him for Himself.
We can ask Him to fill our holes, salve our wounds, sustain our broken hearts…with Himself. He is big enough, capable enough, eternal enough, good enough to satisfy us.
And He longs to do so.
One of the wonderful, mind-blowing things about this all-sufficient God is that He knows, personally and firsthand, what experiencing loss is like. The story of His redemption of a fallen, sin-marred world is one great, paradoxical tale of a Savior who poured Himself out in order to gain everything for us.
God the Son gave up His divine privileges to live among us as a man: Jesus of Nazareth. He experienced human needs, inconveniences, and temptations, though unlike us He never sinned. He taught and healed many, but few understood Him. He experienced rejection, loss of loved ones, and desertion. He allowed Himself to be betrayed, publicly humiliated and subjected to a slow, tortuous death. He was buried and mourned, His ministry labeled a tragic failure.
Yet, by God’s miraculous power and plan, the greatest loss in history accomplished the most meaningful, world-changing success: the restoration of fallen humanity’s relationship with its Maker.
Through His sacrifice on the cross, the sinless Christ atoned for all our sins once and for all. And through His resurrection on the third day after His crucifixion, He defeated sin’s chief consequence: death.
As a result, anyone who identifies with Him—by believing who He is and what He’s done and by trusting Him to be their Savior and Lord—receives forgiveness, new life in a right relationship with God, and the promise of resurrection at Christ’s return.
If you haven’t experienced this infinitely good and satisfying God, now is a great time to welcome Him into your heart and life. Confess your need for Him, asking Him to forgive your sins. Thank Jesus for what He did through His life, death, burial, and resurrection. Ask Him to be your Savior and the Lord of your heart and life.
Thank God for His gifts—past and present. And thank Him for the best gift of all, the one that never ends and can never be stolen or lost: Himself.
Because of the Lord’s faithful loveLamentations 3:22-24 (CSB)
we do not perish,
for his mercies never end.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness!
I say, ‘The Lord is my portion,
therefore I will put my hope in him.’