Fear of Loss
On August 17, 2012, my wife suffered a nearly fatal bicycle accident. For the first few days, we didn’t know whether she would live and in subsequent weeks, we didn’t know what her future mental capacities would be. Thankfully, the Lord has restored her almost completely to what she was before the accident.
This accident personalized for me a real fear that we all experience, namely, the fear of losing our spouses or our children to death. How will we live without them? Christian parents, particularly, fear that their children may never come to faith. They can scarcely bear the idea that their children will suffer in hell forever.
What antidotes do we have against the fear of loss? I would like to suggest three:
IMMERSE YOURSELF IN THE LOVE OF GOD
We must begin by remembering the gospel. We deserve God’s wrath, for we worship ourselves rather than our creator and refuse to give Him thanks and glory (Rom. 1:18–25). We are “by nature children of wrath” and in Adam gave ourselves over to the desires of the flesh, to the pleasures of this world, and to Satan as the prince of the power of the air (Eph. 2:1–3). But oh how we have been loved. Our God is rich in mercy and poured out His love on us by making us alive when we were dead in transgressions and sins (2:4–5). He didn’t send His Son to condemn us but to save us (John 3:16–18). Nor is this an abstract or impersonal word: “[He] loved me and gave himself for me” (Gal. 2:20).
If God loves us so, if He has forgiven us of our sins and rebellion, if He has cleansed us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9), then we have nothing to fear. As the Apostle Paul explains, there is no loss in this world that compares to the joy of gaining Christ (Phil. 3:7–9). Every suffering and pain we face can be borne because we know that God loves us with an unquenchable love in every circumstance.
BE ROOTED IN THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD
It is not only the case that God loves us. He also rules and reigns over all things. The Lord declares the end from the beginning, and His purposes and counsel will stand (Isa. 46:9–10). Nothing can enter our lives apart from His sovereign will, for He even rules over where the lot falls (Prov. 16:33). That means there are ultimately no chance events. No ruler or authority can harm us, for the Lord turns the heart of kings the way he wishes (21:1). “Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases” (Ps. 115:3). He “brings the counsel of the nations to nothing; he frustrates the plans of the peoples” (33:10).
Jesus teaches that not even a sparrow falls to the ground apart from God’s will (Matt. 10:29). If He watches over sparrows, then He watches over the hairs of our head (v. 30). I received great comfort from these verses, for if sparrows don’t fall to the ground apart from God, then neither do bicycle riders. My wife was in God’s hands when her head struck the pavement. I am not saying that facing the situation was easy, and I wish from a human perspective it had never happened. But I took such great comfort knowing my wife was in God’s loving and strong hands. He loves her far more than I ever have or ever will.
TRUST IN THE PROMISES OF GOD
We are to trust in God’s promises, but we must attend to what those promises are. God doesn’t promise that everything will turn out the way we would wish in life. Even though God doesn’t promise us a comfortable life, His promises are amazingly comforting. We recognize that the sorrows and worries of life can strike us like a hurricane. One moment we are quiet and at peace and then suddenly, the winds of worry are blowing. When Satan attacks, we must remember God’s promises. Romans 8:32 says, “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” God has done the hardest thing imaginable. He has handed over His Son when we were His enemies so that we would pass from death into life. We can be sure, then, that God will give us everything we need.
When we fear loss, we are like David who feared that the darkness would engulf him (Ps. 139:11). Darkness may come, but God turns on the light in the darkness, for “even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you” (v. 12). The Lord is our light in the darkness. As Psalm 27:1 says, “The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” We have nothing to fear, for death isn’t the final reality. We serve a God who raised Jesus from the dead. We are guaranteed an eternity of happy tomorrows. “Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning” (Ps. 30:5).