In the famous book, The Velveteen Rabbit, this beautiful passage becomes truer with every passing season of my life…and most likely yours too!
He said, “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real, you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”
I heard it spoken years ago to never trust anyone without a limp. A person with a physical limp has been damaged in a way one would see externally. The limp I am referring to is internal. You cannot see it with your eyes but any amount of time with this person gives you the feeling this person has weathered a few storms. You instinctively trust that this person you are listening too, reading about or even being led by can be trusted with your pain, doubts, and fears. When you place yourself under certain leadership, or even a friend you need to confide in, examine how they have experienced, overcome (or still overcoming) the things that have caused their “limp.” As in the words of the late Elisabeth Elliot, these “severe mercies” are the very things that have qualified them to lead and understand you!
Gone are the days when “game face” at church works for anyone. Life can get hard, pain can be numbing and disappointments can overwhelm us, leaving us perplexed and even frightened that we don’t have enough faith to be an “overcomer.” I’m certainly not suggesting that we walk around hopeless, for we carry within us the hope of the world, which is Christ! But being honest opens up a deeper well for conversation than just saying, “I’m great!” “I’m fine.” or “It’s all good!” Instead, I will say to my Christian friends, “Thank you for asking. I’m trusting the Lord in this season I’m walking through.” That way, I have stayed positive, claiming the promise of scripture and giving hope to my own heart in the middle of my mess. Like the Velveteen rabbit, I’m becoming more real.
God has promised to supply all my needs according to His riches…therefore the losses you and I experience come as no surprise to our God. There will be times when God does not supply according to the way we want the need supplied, whether that be a relationship, a position or a certain amount of money. God alone wants to be the sufficiency and fulfillment we need during that trial that ultimately He alone can fill. The loss may be His love, building a reservoir in our hearts that He alone wants to fill. He will supply in the way only He knows best. It may not take away the immediate pain, but if we can hold on and let God do His work, the fulfillment later will build a lifetime of deep, inner joy.
Loss is inevitable as we journey through this life. Loss of jobs, finances, friendships, parents, a full nest, figures, memory or overall dreams that do not leave the Christian immune. Somehow in the midst of these losses we must fall deeper and deeper into the arms of Jesus, who alone can cushion the sharpness of these painful losses.
If you lose your car keys, cell phone or wallet, you are consumed with finding this item. You do not rest until that item is in your hand again. It is the same with how God sees us. These “allowed” losses become like spiritual cortisol as we realize that the loss creates a longing for that which will never abandon us, disappoint us or leave us orphaned. When we consume our thoughts, desires, and hope in Jesus, fixing our gaze upon Him, then the loss of that coveted position or Dream will not swallow and drown us. We may still cry and hurt deeply but we are becoming more and more real. And… all that matters is Jesus…because He is the one who understood all along.
Article Written by: Alyson She’d