Nothing to lose?

On occasion, you will hear about a sweet deal – one that has nothing but advantage and benefit. That’s what they promise. We have all heard the warning: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. We don’t want to allow cynicism to rule our lives, but we understand that “nothing to lose” doesn’t fit our reality very often.

Loss is a part of life. Sometimes loss devastates us. Recent events in Orlando provide too stark an example of how loss can shatter lives. We all have to deal with losing things. The transitions of life mean the loss of circumstance and certainty. Change happens. Relationships are affected. Job security can quickly become insecurity. Accidents happen. Health issues arise. Death robs us of people we love. Career moves uproot families. Loss occurs in many ways to all of us.

How do we cope? There is no easy process, no 10-step guaranteed plan. One of the reasons loss is difficult to handle is that it is usually accompanied by grief. Ask someone who has lost a job they loved or a teenager who has to start over at a new school in a new community or a single parent who is trying to provide safety and security for her children or a widow who has to live with aching loneliness.

I recently read an article about actor Tom Hanks. The story chronicled a difficult childhood, a dysfunctional family, multiple schools, and many disappointments. Somehow he overcame all the obstacles to build a fabulous career and an industry-wide respect. Called one of the good guys in Hollywood, he seemed to have it made. He married actress Rita Wilson. They built a loving home for their two sons. But life took some tough turns. She was diagnosed with cancer and underwent radical surgery and treatment. One of their sons became addicted to cocaine and alcohol. Hanks learned that he had diabetes. Their fairy tale story lost its luster. What got them through? Both Tom and Rita have leaned on a deepening faith in God. Wealth and fame cannot protect against loss.

So how can ordinary folks like us use to combat the effects of loss? Relying on God means focusing on what is gained, not what is lost. John Newton wrote these words in the world’s most loved hymn: “I once was lost but now am found.” As a child of the King, the world might take things away from us, but it can’t touch what God gives. Jesus promised His peace. He offers us hope. He claims us for His very own. He assures us of His presence. He loves us no matter what. Loss still hurts but we can move forward. In the words of Lidie Edmunds who lived with paralysis most of her adult life: “My faith has found a resting place.” I hope we can, too.

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About Mark Wilbanks

Dr. Wilbanks became Wieuca’s fifth senior pastor in February of 2012. Mark’s father, Oliver Wilbanks, served as Associate Pastor here from 1966 to 1982. Wieuca had a tremendous influence in shaping Mark’s call to ministry during his teenage and young adult years. A graduate of both Southern and New Orleans Baptist Theological seminaries, Mark has served churches in Kentucky, Florida, and Georgia. He pastored Southside Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida for 17 years and Bradfordville First Baptist Church in Tallahassee, Florida for ten years. He and his wife, Kim, were married in 1979 and have two sons, Andy and Jordan. Andy is married to Lindsay and they have a son, Cade, a daughter, Ruthie, and welcomed their third child, Samuel, in October.

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