He Remains

Loss never comes at the right time. It could be the loss of a job. It could be a shifting relationship or even a death. Sadly, it’s never at a moment of our choosing and we always want just one more chance to talk or at least one more hug. We just want more.

The pain of loss punches us in the gut. It takes our breath away—every time. Sometimes my faith leaks out of my heart just like tears fall out of my eyes. The bad news is loss doesn’t happen only once but over and over throughout our lives. 

You’d think we would be better students by now. Better at hurting, I mean. We sure get a lot of practice.

What I want to offer you today is this truth: He remains. No matter what happens.

We recently had to say goodbye to our dear Great Dane, Simone. Let me tell you, whew, God could not have been more near. I know, I know, she’s a dog. But she was a gift from my Good Father. And my Good Father cared deeply that His kids were crying over the loss of their companion.

And like all loss, He just keeps teaching me about His willingness to meet me right where I am. He knows just what I need. Sometimes He gives comfort, or it may be truth, or rescue, or tenderness. Whatever it is, He remains.

Here is an example of His wrap-around presence. Chuck brought Simone to me to say goodbye. I was at a lakehouse getting ready to teach a retreat. I was so torn. Do I cancel or go on? Do I see her for the last time or miss her? When she slowly got out of the car, I knew I had chosen well. It was a gift to see my old friend—one more time. Then they drove off.

Standing there cold, barefoot, and alone, I crumbled. ‘What have I done?’ I thought. ‘How will I ever catch my breath? How will I ever teach?’ I walked down by the pool to find a place to cry in private. I wasn’t praying. I was just crying.

But as I stood there, I was overwhelmed by the beauty of the morning. Wispy steam lifted up off the water as the sun rose up over the hills. I noticed the sound of birds singing and watched one fly above me and land right on top of a tall tree. Faintly, somewhere far off in my spirit, I heard, I care for the sparrows.

I said out loud, “I know Lord. I know you care.”

Look at all this beauty, He said. It was an incredible view of the lake, the mist, and the colors.

“I know Lord, it is beautiful. This just hurts so much too. I don’t know how I will stop crying. Let alone teach,” I said through sobs.

What happened next is nothing short of a miracle. This swirl of energy started around my waist and spiraled up around me through my body and up through my head.  All of this caused me to inhale sharply. 

In a moment, my tears stopped. Just like that. In one holy touch, God replaced my anguish with His peace. I felt like He had painted me into His beautiful morning landscape of hope and glory. 

His presence changes everything.

Loss is inevitable. He remains.

He sees you. He honors your tears. He heals your sorrow.

God is unstoppable as He gathers His hurting children in His arms. To be sure I have cried since then. But that rush of the Holy Spirit, surrounding and containing me, so I could carry on for the day is burned in my memory.

He remains.