Thursday, October 15, 2009

Losing . . . - Black

What set me off on a reverie at that time, I don’t recall, for there had been a flood of ‘bad news’ situations calling for prayer and encouragement. It was, however, shortly before Thanksgiving, and news of yet another person’s loss or painful reversal in life reached me. I’d attended several funeral visitations and services in a short time, and it seemed there was no end to news that some acquaintance or other confronted a fresh loss of one kind or another: loss of loved one, of job, of health, of independence, and so on. Loss ... Losing.

Losing. That word nagged and tugged while I tried to do other things.

Deciduous trees lose their old leaves to prepare for gaining new ones in a new season. Life is so much about losing. You cannot gain unless you are losing. Many people feel they are gaining something of value when they lose unwanted weight, bulk, whatever. Losing. You feel great when you get rid of a cold or flu, or when you can say your final goodbyes to a lemon of a car with its money-sucking troubles. You’ve lost and you feel as though you’ve gained.

The immortal words of Jim Elliot of a half-century ago surfaced quickly, as though not far below the surface waters of consciousness: “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.” Jim, young husband and father, a missionary, sealed that statement with his own blood – as did also his four companions – in an Ecuadoran jungle, speared through by those natives to whom he’d reached out to offer the gift of love and friendship in Jesus’ name.

I thought of George Beverly Shea, long-time soloist of the Billy Graham evangelistic campaign meetings, who jointly penned the now beloved words he sang hundreds of times around the world, “I’d rather have Jesus than silver or gold.” He’d rather have Jesus than houses or lands, rather than men’s applause, rather than be the king of a vast domain and be held in sin's dread sway ...

I thought of our Lord’s words: “What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul?” (Mat. 16:26a)

I thought some more and typed several lines, then several more.... Not particularly profound, not stellar writing, and yet I needed to get them out, then needed to say them out loud. And that, I did, and I felt I had gained something of value.

Such simple lines:

Losing . . .

Sometimes it is only in losing what we’ve got we can really appreciate what we had.

Sometimes it is only in losing what we’ve got that we can find out what we never had.

Sometimes it is only in losing what we’ve got that we can reach out for what we really need.

Losing the solitude of self-confidence to find the companionship of dependency.

Losing wealth to find the richness of contentment.

Losing health to find hope and healing.

Losing safety to find help and security.

Losing freedom to find faith.

Losing liberty to find love.

Losing ... to find.

Losing ... to gain.

Peter writes a weekly inspirational column in The Watford Guide-Advocate. His book, "Parables from the Pond" ("written for children, read and enjoyed by all ages") is published by Word Alive Press. He can be contacted at and


Joanna Mallory said...

Good perspective, Peter. Thank you for articulating it so clearly.

Blessings today!

She Writes said...


Losing and loss, these words, are words that affect many of us and hopefully, for the better as you suggest in your post at the end. Losing to find or losing to gain...

Thank you,
Jenny Burr

Glynis said...

Beautiful, thoughtful prose. I love your 'simple lines.' And without sorrow there would be no joy. We take so much for granted in our brief lives. Thanks for making me sit up and take stock, Peter. Lovely. Blessings and joy to you!

Eleanor Shepherd said...

Thanks, Peter for these profound thoughts that stir and at the same time encourage us. You have explored another perspective on one of the paradoxes of our faith that when we lose we gain.
Thanks for your words.

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