Plastic is a useful material. Open the fridge or the cupboard; in fact, look around you and notice the many ways in which it is employed.
This material is waterproof, break-proof, spill-proof (if you remembered to put the cap on!), and impermeable.
Let’s stop on “impermeable.” In a nutshell, it means nothing gets in…and nothing gets out unless the container is opened.
This is very much like our hearts. We can “plastic coat” ours, and sometimes do so after we’ve experienced emotional pain.
One problem with this layer of protection is that, like an unopened container, it is sealed:
Nothing gets in (like love),
and nothing gets out (like love).
The first forty years of my life were very painful ones. In the beginning, some very hurtful things were done to me, but by my 20’s I was also doing things that caused me pain as well.
I made some observations during that time, and decided that the problem was people. If I kept them at arm’s length, they would no longer be able to hurt me. I coated my heart with so much “plastic” that it was more like a transport tank for liquids than a flesh-and-blood organ.
(Of course I speak in metaphors, but you know what I mean!)
Over time, though, its contents began to roil and stew. The gasses of all that junk inside began to expand until it finally blew.
I made an important discovery that day:
Blessed are those that mourn, for they will be comforted. (Matthew 5:4)
You see, there can be no comfort for the one who chooses to bury their pain, rather than grieve.
This serves to keep the Holy Spirit
– our Comforter –
from effectively ministering to us.
In keeping with the current theme, you can see why this could be a very big obstacle to an intimate relationship with God.
There are a couple of things we must accept about the reality of loss and life.
The first fact is that we are alive. (Can I get a ‘duh?’ 😉 ) However, because of this reality, we will feel pain and we will experience loss.
Only the dead feel no pain
Another truth is that you and I live in a fallen world where sin is present.
In a fallen, sin-filled world
pain and loss cannot be avoided
Some losses are inevitable. For instance, every one of us will experience the death of someone we love. No one lives forever on Planet Earth. Methuselah thought he had a fighting chance – he lived over 950 years! However, he died…as we all must.
A few more losses that we are likely to experience are these:
The loss of love through abandonment, rejection, or betrayal
The loss of a job
The loss of our health
The loss of friends due to relocation (we moved from Wisconsin to California, then to Oklahoma, and back to California. Long distance relationships are hard to maintain! All our friends had to be told “good-bye.”)
We may have to let go of a dream
The loss of trust for another
These are just a few of the ways we experience loss. No doubt you could add to the list.
The point is this:
Loss is inevitable
How we handle it will either keep us fully engaged in life…
Or make us like the walking dead
After all, how will we comfort others with the same comfort we ourselves have received (from 2 Corinthians 1:3-4)…
…if we bury it, put on a happy face, and go on as if nothing ever happened?
Next time we will explore why ungrieved losses are a problem, not only in our relationship with others, but also with God.
You’ve dropped in on the series Intimacy with God. It begins here: C’mon In…
This section is about loss and grief as obstacles to intimacy.