“Measure thy life by loss instead of gain… for love’s strength standeth in love’s sacrifice, and whoso suffers most hath most to give.” (Ugo Bassi)
This fall has felt like walking through a hard, dry land in the darkness of night. I am still trying to learn how to tell this story of walking through darkness when all can be seen as seemingly good. And how to speak in ways that God remains in the center of it all.
Forgiveness, I have learned, is truly a decision. Forgiveness is something that I, as a believer, will have to extend whether the apology comes or not. So a choice is made, day by day — but the rawness of heart remains, for a long time.
Being a leader and being in ministry means having a soft heart and a thick skin. And that thickness of skin? Comes with being rubbed raw. It comes with wounds and scars. So we walk through this season of thankless jobs, though they come with great blessings. Sometimes it just takes a while to behold the blessings when our heart is hurting.
In seasons of ministry, there can be intense spiritual warfare. And I know I am not the only one affected by this. I see the hardness, the suffering, the hurting around me. Spiritual warfare has come in many shapes and sizes. There has been great and unexpected loss — whether finances, relationships, strength, dreams or hopes. There has been many wounds, those ill-spoken words and misjudged deeds. With all these, come fear and doubts.
The Blessing in Our Suffering
But behind all this? Is growth.
I am walking slowly in this increasing awareness of how this — all this, this hurt and suffering and hardship and darkness. It can be a blessing. It is a blessing. Because in our suffering, we relate to Christ who suffered. And in our suffering, Christ relates to us in our hurting.
I don’t know yet how exactly it makes sense to measure life by loss instead of gain… and yet it does. Because sacrifice is what brought us to Love Himself. Suffering is what breached that gap that sin has left between us and God.
I know I often count those things that were taken from me. Whether it is health, relationships, finances, dreams or possibilities. I count that which I lost. But behind all that is the sense of losing what I thought was promised to me. But here, measuring life by loss? I am starting to count the ways Christ is giving me chances to grow.
And here’s the thing that is captivating my mind right now. This process of growing? This process of sanctification? It happens only now. It happens only in this life. For the next life I have is eternity, and there is no suffering there. I will be made perfect. So this (eventually) beautiful process of growing to become more like Christ? I am given only now. We are given only now.