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Making it

You know that I believe in the best "control" in our lives as the transition of control - giving control to the one who is able to manage our lives the best - God. "Losing what is dear to us" really doesn't excite any of us because it wouldn't be 'dear' to us unless we wanted to keep in near! It is in loss that we understand the need for comfort and most of us would rather bypass the loss part entirely. It is also in loss that we connect with that which is most important to us - because sometimes it takes loss to help us see very clearly how much importance something has in our lives. There is just something about loss - physical, emotional, financial, or relational - that causes us to look at our lives again and evaluate where we are now that the loss has occurred. We become "evaluators" of where we have been, what we have done, and the cost that we have paid for where we find ourselves today.

"You're blessed when you feel you've lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you." (Matthew 5:4)

When down-and-outers get a break, cheer! And when the arrogant rich are brought down to size, cheer! Prosperity is as short-lived as a wildflower, so don't ever count on it. You know that as soon as the sun rises, pouring down its scorching heat, the flower withers. Its petals wilt and, before you know it, that beautiful face is a barren stem. Well, that's a picture of the "prosperous life." At the very moment everyone is looking on in admiration, it fades away to nothing. (James 1:9-11)

Things in and of themselves are short-lived in terms of how long the last in our use or enjoyment. We tend to count on them sometimes as though they are permanent, though. We expect our cars to run when we hit the ignition switch and not to ever get flat tires when we need to be a certain place at a certain time. We don't count on them sputtering to a halt in the middle of an intersection. When we take them to the mechanic and hear the news that the cost of repairs outweighs the remaining value of the vehicle, we find ourselves faced with tough decisions. None of us really wants to hear that we need to realize that things are really not permanent. They change with time - they are not permanent or lasting in any terms of the word. Even a diamond has no worth to us after we are buried!

We are often find our careers take a turn we did not expect, the economy sends us into a tizzy because ends no longer meet, or the people we thought would be there for us in times of hardship are just not sensitive to the turmoil we are finding ourselves enduring right at this moment. These are the very opportunities for God to embrace us like he has not been allowed to before - they are not to be wasted in self-pity and grief. Our "counting on" people, things, or circumstances has kept him at arms length. In the time of whatever this loss might be for us, he can finally pull us closer than we have been before. Our defenses are let down, and he can reach into our hearts in comfort, in correction if needed, and in his healing compassion.

When God embraces us, he is taking us in eager anticipation of what we will experience next to his heart - there is an intense willingness on his part to pull us near. He takes that which is ready to be received because he never will force himself on us. Comfort is only accepted by a readied heart. Correction is only useful if the ears and mind are open to listening to it - swaying the heart to follow in due time. Compassion only connects with our misery and walks with us in the moments that cause us distress when we are open to having a "walking companion". We may not fully recognize the real frailty of those things, plans, and people who have been given a position of "trust" in our lives. Yet, in the loss of these, God stands ready to reveal his love - and yes, if necessary, his correction. The two are not opposites - they go hand in hand. It is in love that correction brings us close. It is in love that comfort accomplishes healing. It is in love that we understand the strength of his embrace. Just enjoy his embrace - you will make it to the other side of this stress, my friends! Just sayin!

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