2003-10-27 - The Gain of Loss
Proverbs 14:12 There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.
I was watching the news and they were talking about the fires in California, and all the homes that have burned. Several people have died. It reminded me of a story I recently read. It is about a young painter in Germany.
It seems the young painter completed an incredible painting. His master teacher could not even think of one area in it for improvement. The student was so proud of it, and admired it so greatly that he stopped painting. The more he looked at it the more he was convinced he could never do better.
One morning he found that his master had completely painted it out. He was very angry, of course, and asked why he had done it. The master replied, "The painting was good, but it had become a hindrance to you. You had ceased to admire art in your picture, you were admiring only yourself. Take your pencil, and try again. Cease to regret the sacrifice; greatness of soul must be yours, if you would hope to reproduce it on the canvas." The student's next painting made him famous.
Sometimes a loss can open us up to a better and fuller life. I feel for the fire victims, but I wonder when I see someone interviewed who is standing by his house and saying, "This is all I have, and I am staying until the end with my garden hose." It could be that a loss becomes a gain. It has a lot to do with trusting in the providence of God. Do we trust God's providence? Do we trust God's wisdom? Maybe we might never recover "stuff" when we suffer loss, but we can still seek to take our experience and grow in the grace of Jesus Christ. I'm not saying it is easy, but we can strive forward during difficult times.
I hope it does not sound like I am picking on the fire victims. I have been to LA, and I went to college at Arizona State. I took my motorcycle into Southern, CA several times. I am very sad with what they are going through out there because I feel a connection with the people out there. I live in the Philly burbs now, but I still remember my time in the West with fondness.
As the painter had a master he was a student under, so also we have a Grand Master that we are all students under. When we suffer loss, in any manner, we need to seek to grow from it. It is never easy. However, it is our responsibility as followers of Christ to live our lives in a way that is pleasing to the Lord. We are not to be tied to this world, or the things of this world. We long for eternity and long to live faithfully here while the Lord gives us life.
Soli Deo Gloria,