Loss dogs the steps of our daily lives, darkens the corners of our minds, and squeezes our hearts. Seventeen years ago, on September 26, my father passed into eternity. After such a long time, the date usually passes without too much notice but since I am reading through my father’s devotional book this year, I couldn’t help but be reminded.
Interestingly other events occurred this weekend to heighten the impression. On Saturday morning, I learned that my friend, Nancy, had lost her father the night before—the same date on which I had lost my own dad. Her experience brought back memories of my own.
On Sunday, I got word that another friend of many years had finally succumbed to cancer and was in the presence of the Lord. As I read the glowing words of praise for her life, I was reminded again that those dark corners in our life’s journey need desperately to be tempered by faith, hope and love.
The reading in my father’s devotional book for September 27 gave me a perspective on loss that sometimes gets overwhelmed by loss’s gloom. The author, James Hinton, writes: “Suppose you are bewildered and know not what is right nor what is true. Can you not cease to regard whether you do or not, whether you be bewildered, whether you be happy? Cannot you utterly and perfectly love, and rejoice to be in the dark, and gloom-beset, because that very thing is the fact of God’s Infinite Being as it is to you? Cannot you take this trial also into your own heart, and be ignorant, not because you are obliged, but because that being God’s will, it is yours also? Do you not see that a person who truly loves is one with the Infinite Being — cannot be uncomfortable or unhappy? It is that which is that he wills and desires and holds best of all to be. To know God is utterly to sacrifice self.”*
The style of writing takes a bit of analyzing to make it understandable, but the essence of the message is a reminder that trust in the dark places, as well as those places blessed with light, is essential and is evidenced not simply by a resignation to His plan, but by the embracing of it.
*Daily Strength for Daily Needs, Little, Brown & Company, Boston, 1920