- Read the Bible often and thoroughly to avoid a selective or lopsided understanding of God’s ways. Reflect on Jesus’ life-example and the New Testament’s explanation of how this shapes our lives.
- Be familiar with the stages of grief, and be honest with your emotions as you experience them in small and great losses: denial, anger, bargaining, sadness, and acceptance.
- Embrace loss with courage: Search for new insights, deeper spirituality, transformation, and fresh hope.
But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.
N. T. Wright: Early Christians understood their vocation as Jesus’ followers to include …their own suffering, misunderstanding, and likely death… The suffering of Jesus’ followers is… not just the inevitable accompaniment to the accomplishing of the divine purpose, but actually itself part of the means by which that purpose is fulfilled.
Richard Rohr: There must be, and, if we are honest, there always will be at least one situation in our lives that we cannot fix, control, explain, change, or even understand. For Jesus and for his followers, the crucifixion became the dramatic symbol of that necessary and absurd stumbling stone.
Matthew 16:25-26 (NLT)
If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?
Richard Rohr: Our resistance to the message is so great that it could be called outright denial, even among sincere Christians. The human ego prefers anything, just about anything, to falling or changing or dying. The ego is that part of you that loves the status quo, even when it is not working. It attaches to past and present, and fears the future.
Samuel R. Chand: Paradoxically, Christians often have more difficulty handling personal pain than unbelievers. They look at the promises of God and conclude that God should fill their lives with joy, love, support, and success. That’s reading the Bible selectively. The Scriptures state— clearly and often—that enduring pain is one of the ways, perhaps the main way, God works his grace deeply into our lives.