In this week’s message, Pastor Tracy closes our Navigate series by discussing one final storm we will all inevitably experience – loss. The beauty of our Christian life is being granted the opportunity to step into an eternal life with Christ (John 3:16). When we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, our spirit is reborn and we are adopted into God’s eternal family as sons and daughters (Ephesians 1:5). The hope of God’s glory and presence is birthed in us, and we’re drawn to seek after God’s will and ways. Yet while God has set eternity in our hearts, we often times forget that while we have an eternal hope, our earthly experiences all have an expiration date (Ecclesiastes 3:11). We cling to what lies ahead of us, forgetting what may be most important to us here on earth is only temporary. This causes us to view the present outcomes of our lost situations as if they’re final. In Pastor Tracy’s message, Navigate Loss, she examines how the loss we experience goes beyond losing a loved one, while encouraging us as we develop our relationship with God, what we once perceived as great loss is most often the beginning of our journey into something greater.
Satan attempts to shipwreck our faith by using loss as a strategy to get us to turn our backs on God. Just as Satan used scripture to tempt Jesus in the wilderness, he uses Psalm 37:4 as way to tempt us into abandoning our faith in God’s goodness (Matthew 4:1-11). Psalm 37:4 states, “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” As we grow deeper in faith, God leads us into having greater expectations for our lives, because it is what He desires as our perfect Father. God wants us to constantly live in greater prosperity, peace, provision and health. But our temptation comes when Satan persuades us into believing when we ask God for something good, something which seems to align itself with God’s will on the surface of our prayers, our prayers must come to pass; and our destruction comes when Satan convinces us God isn’t good or faithful and doesn’t love us when what we once prayed for didn’t manifest itself. It’s in these moments when the devil gets us to abandon God as our perfect Father, causing God’s greater and bigger plans for our lives, His plans of a hope and a future, to appear as moments of great loss, sorrow and tragedy (Jeremiah 29:11). We look at the lost job, lost dream, and lost relationship as a sign God doesn’t truly care for us, thinking if He did, He would have given us the desires of our hearts. He would have opened the doors we so desperately wanted opened. He would have restored our relationship because we were convinced they were ‘the one’. In these moments, we begin to look at our pain and disappointment instead of towards the bigger picture.
Our journey from loss and disappointment into satisfaction and joy begins when we dwell in God’s presence and let His word abide in us. God’s promised He will give us the desires of our hearts and that as we ask according to our desires, He will satisfy them. But God’s promised these two things as a result of us dwelling and abiding in Him (Psalm 37:4, John 15:7). Many times, the disappointment in our loss is a result of having the wrong focus. We try to unravel the mystery of what doesn’t make sense. We look for answers as to why our loved one may have passed or why the job we’ve waited for for years was given to the new guy; and when we don’t find them, we fail to recognize the imperfection of our human nature, blaming God for everything that didn’t go according to our plan. Yet as God calls us to abide in Him and dwell in His presence, He’s asking more of us than simply praying in the morning. He’s inviting us into a relationship where we submit to Him, allowing ourselves to be moldable, bendable and pliable. In God’s desire to take us from glory to glory – from just enough to overflowing in every area of our lives – there are things God must do in us in order for His promises to be sustained through us. Strength and discipline must be built, hearts must be softened, and trust must be established. Surrendering to God gives Him access to change us from the inside out, building a relationship of trust with our Father who has nothing less than our best interest at heart. Our hearts become aligned with His, allowing His word to rise within us. In moments where we would normally blame God and limit His supernatural power from invading our brokenness, we position ourselves to hear the Father’s voice and reveal His eternal perspective over our situations. We begin to witness the reason the job never came through was because the company was about to go under. We see the relationship fell apart because of unresolved addictions in the other’s life. We understand our loved one was not healed because God was protecting the first sign of peace within their heart. What we once thought was the end of our situations becomes the beginning of God’s plan to reveal His grace and mercy upon our lives. And when we begin to believe it isn’t over until it’s beautiful, we’re able to receive the supernatural comfort of the Holy Spirit, the comfort and peace which surpasses all understanding. Comfort and peace which guards our hearts and minds from the lies of the enemy, securing them in the truth of God’s promises over our lives (Philippians 4:7).
Loss is one of the greatest moments of heartache we can experience, and if we are going to believe God turns all things around for the good of those who love Him and have been called according to His purpose, we must build a trust in God that cries His loyalty to us (Romans 8:28). We must run to Him in our moments of heartache, calm our ear to hear His plan, meditate on His promises, and allow His comfort to dwell within us.
- What are some experiences you’ve gone through where you suffered great loss? How did you respond? What about that specific loss made you feel pain and sorrow?
- How can looking at God as a Father who wants to do exceedingly, abundantly above all we could ask, think or imagine help you see ‘unanswered prayers’ as encouragement to keep pursuing God?
- What are some answers to prayer you’ve experienced that came as a result of God molding and refining you?
- What may be stopping you from allowing yourself to be molded and bended by God? What may stop you from fully submitting your situations over to God? Your emotions?
- Are there any areas of your life that you feel may need to be molded in order for you to receive the promise you’ve been asking for? What are steps you can take to allow God to do so?
- How does running to God help you see God’s perspective over your loss? What may cause you from running to God when you experience loss? How does trying to figure everything out limit you from experiencing breakthrough?
- What are things you can do to help fix your eyes on God’s eternal mindset, rather than the temporal one of here and now?
Thank God for being a perfect Father whose desire is to give you the desires of your heart. Thank God that as you draw near to Him, He is faithful to draw near to you. Ask God to reveal anything in you that may be preventing you from receiving your next blessing and thank Him for revealing your next steps to you. Pray God would give you an eternal perspective, thanking Him that eternity has already been set in your heart. Ask God for the courage and strength to run to you when you face tragic loss. Thank God for giving you a stronger, clearer revelation to His word. Ask God to cover you with His supernatural comfort. Praise God for being a Father who wants to do exceedingly, abundantly above all you can ask, think or imagine.
Encourage your group members to maintain an eternal mindset. Lead them to see the greater good in situations they may not be willing to accept. As they open up about previous experiences they have with loss, encourage them by finding the blessing that came out of it. Remind your group members that God’s ways are higher than our ways and His thoughts than our thoughts, and their trust is built when they let God be the one to figure everything out (Isaiah 55:8-9). Lead your group members to Scripture that reaffirm’s God’s trustful and faithful character. Help the find ways to meditate on those words throughout their week.