How To View Loss As A Win
Just one day into the week and three AP tests into the end of high school, my heart, mind, body, spirit—my everything—bore the weight of the death of my sweet dad.
With graduation less than a month away, I was faced with a commotion of rival thoughts and emotions.
But I didn't feel very much. All I did was think. Think about all of the days that separated my dad from sitting in the crowd; from walking through the halls of my dorm; from wearing a "Gonzaga Dad" shirt. But then I'd think about how I was supposed to be so happy about walking off that stage with diploma in hand; about a new home away from home; about crazy, college-sized experiences.
I like to do things correctly, and that's what I hated most about grief. You aren't supposed to be prepared for loss. But I really wanted to be. So I turned to emotions that I believed I was good at feeling because that gave me a sense of control in the midst of an unfamiliar brokenness.
I wasn't very rooted in my faith growing up, and when my dad died my faith was still very distant from my heart. But one of the general takeaways I grew up with in my Christian home was the idea of being strong in times of all kinds of darkness. And all I really got from that was a false understanding that Christians needed to be positive all of the time.
In the Bible, we are told Job's horrific story in the very first chapter of the book. All of his flocks are destroyed and his servants and children are killed. He is handed loss after loss.
Before this, it seemed like Job experienced God's goodness to the fullest. He had seven sons, three daughters, 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 teams of oxen, 500 donkeys, and loads of servants. He was the richest man in the Land of Uz. He had every tangible reason to believe in a God who provides.
And in what seemed like a matter of seconds, every single one of those reasons were taken away.
Verse 20 says, "Job stood up and tore his robe in grief. Then he shaved his head and fell to the ground to worship."
Job neither denied his pain in his loss nor his faith in his God. He felt the loss so deeply. Yet he looked to God so quickly. His grief didn't lead to faithlessness, yet his faithfulness didn't lead to an empty hope in instant healing.
For way too many days, I thought that the point was to move on from your pain right away and that was why Christians were such happy, courageous people. Because they never let their pain into their minds or souls in the first place. So that's what I did. All throughout summer. During freshmen orientation. Sitting in class. Learning new names and faces. Walking through campus and away from my loss.
And I waited and waited and waited for my happy, courageous faith to catch up to me.
But 1 Peter 1:6-7 says, "So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world."
I just wanted God to put the fire out. I didn't see the grace that He was weaving into the flames.
I tried to stand in the fire alone. But now I know that God steps into the fire with us. And He sweetly places people among the smoke to guide you through the sparks. I didn’t need to leave the house of loss, I needed to invite Him and others into it.
Faith, hope, healing, courage, community—none of it can be experienced apart from Christ.
Allowing yourself to feel pain and to grieve doesn't make you weak in your faith; and seeking His face through your fire doesn't mean you are abandoning the weight of your loss. You're just giving it to God to hold instead of trying to carry it all on your own.
Welcoming God into your loss makes you a winner because you are saying yes to an opportunity of brokenness that paves way for His mercy and a refined relationship with Him. Isn't that so beautiful? That something as valuable as gold is created after being put through fire. And how crazy is it that our faith is far more precious than gold. Our fires strengthen and renew our faith in a very special way that we would not have known otherwise.
But it's not a win that you all of a sudden obtain once the fire is gone. It's a win that you've been given from the very beginning. I've realized that children of God are truly happy, courageous people. Not because we're supposed to be, but because we get to be. A Lord that sees us and our losses and loves us right in the middle of it all is the win. And He chose to love our way before the flames were lit.
It’s no longer about questioning why I was given such a fire in the first place. I’m gifted comfort and peace in place of doubt and confusion because I’m fiercely loved and pursued amidst my fire.
So, here we are. Another senior year on the horizon. And I so clearly see the ways in which grace was and still is, perfectly woven into my ash and third-degree burns.
This is how my loss endlessly shows me that Christ is the everlasting win.
Lani-Faith Lucas // @lanilucas
I'm Lani and I love all things sunny and sandy and I have my little island of a home, Oahu, to thank for that. I'm a senior at Gonzaga University #gozags and Spokane has gifted me a heart for servanthood and storytelling. I hope my career is filled with sweet kiddo laughs and lotsa grace for people who once seemed so different from me. I look at the dessert menu before reading the actual menu; I can't wait to be a dog mom; I'm a big flower field girl; and I just loveee meeting pieces of Jesus in others.