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  • Marshele Carter

Life Without Loss Isn't an Option

Updated: Sep 6


Lighthouse Loss Suffering Hope Purpose

Anyone who has lived on the East Coast has a story of a storm that came at a cost. You don’t have to listen long to overhear long-timers telling newbies to stock up on essentials and to make an evacuation plan.


Having lived many years on the mid-Atlantic coast, I have a healthy respect for hurricanes. The forecasters at the National Weather Service are predicting up to 21 named storms before Thanksgiving 2022, including three to six major hurricanes. I don’t take these forecasts lightly. I know from experience that past storms with names for every letter of the alphabet have crept up the coast, blown homes and lives away, and broken many hearts.


But those of us who have lived in the path of these monsters quickly learned that what comes after the hurricane does more damage than the storm. The greatest threat to life comes from the ocean in the form of a storm surge. It’s a furious flood caused by abnormally high seawater levels that follows every scary storm. The record-breaking waves and swollen tide can swallow everything in their path. The devastation caused by just one storm and its surge can last for years or even a lifetime.


Similarly, there are storm seasons in our personal lives. The difference is that our personal storms aren’t predictable and don’t come with a team of forecasters and a fleet of satellites that help us to prepare our hearts and minds for impact. Whether we are land-locked or beach lubbers, it’s safe to say that 100% of us will get a direct hit by a scary storm more than once in our lives.


Suffering After Hurricane Storm Surge
Photo by John Middlekoop

Life without loss is not an option for any of us. The longer we live, the list of people and plans that we lose to disappointment, downsizing, divorce, and death gets longer with each passing year. As each storm rages, we try our best to stand firm in our faith and to stay strong for those who depend on us.


After the initial impact, we sit stunned in a breathless silence, awash in impossible questions with no easy answers. Then, after the storm that took our loved one, our marriage, or our dream, we must deal with the rising, churning flood of grief that rushes in and threatens to swallow us whole.


Most of us make it through the actual impact of the storm. It’s the surge that can sink us. It’s in the aftermath of the storm where many believers languish and, if we are honest, many of us consider walking away from God.


I’ve been there. I’ve grappled with the grief that follows great loss. I’m sure you have, too. That’s why I’m so grateful for the opportunity to work with Jim David in raising awareness for the film, For A Purpose. Jim has a God-given talent for helping others share their stories of life after loss through in-depth, compassionate interviews, creative storytelling, and beautiful cinematography. Men and women who have experienced great loss share candidly about their storms and how the aftermath of grief didn’t destroy, but deepened their faith in Jesus Christ.


I hope you’ll take time to view the trailer. Here are just three lifesaving rings from the film that you can hold onto in any of life’s storms:


Purpose

God makes sure that our pain has a purpose. That means that our pain isn’t pointless! For believers in Jesus Christ, suffering always produces hope that doesn’t disappoint. It’s a guaranteed hope that doesn’t fall short because it’s grounded in God’s deep love for us.

And we rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.”
Romans 5:3-5 (NIV)

The footnote in the New International Version of the verses above adds, “The believer’s hope is not to be equated with unfounded optimism. On the contrary, it is the blessed assurance of our future destiny and is based on God’s love, which is revealed to us by the Holy Spirit and objectively demonstrated to us in the death of Christ.”


Perfect Love

In the rising tide of pain, we naturally question His love and presence; but, it’s so important never to stop believing that His love for us is perfect, even when everything just got blown to smithereens.


“God is love….There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.”
1 John 4:16,18 (NIV)

Perspective

A dose of much-needed clarity comes when we wipe our storm-splattered lenses clean and refocus on the truth. An eternal perspective gives us the hope that powers our endurance.

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable---if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
Philippians 4:8

Working more closely with this documentary project has given me renewed perspective and has reminded me of key truths that will serve as reliable, faith-saving rings for countless people in their inevitable storms.

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