I was reading a story I thought was terribly sad. A couple broke off because of messy circumstances and a wish not to hurt the other. But I don’t get it. I wanted them to be more trustworthy and faithful. I wanted them to believe in each other and be willing to depend on each other while remaining vulnerable. Maybe it wouldn’t have been practical for them to remain together, but I believed they loved each other truly, and in my thought, love would win over practical concerns. I wanted them to choose something that would help them heal from phobias and insecurities, not perpetuate them.
Now their lives are complicated and messy, and the lives are their friends’ are affected as well. They have been dealing with a mutual friend’s grief over losing her husband. So, they have to see each other and deal with making prudent, hedged-in decisions. And I want forgiveness for their mistakes and real hope for them to reconcile. But then the guy’s new girlfriend goes and gets jealous and tells the widow that “She is all better and doesn’t need her best friend at her side anymore.” Wow! Harsh! And the woman was just starting to go through the motions of living a life again. Just beginning that process of ‘normal’ life. Of course she needs her best friend still. And her best friend also needs her. They shouldn’t have to be apart because of a jealous girlfriend. A reasonably jealous girlfriend, but still not making a good move and probably won’t get the desired result either.
And all this to say I am an optimist in spite of everything. I really believe that a happy ending is possible no matter how messy or mistaken things become. And it is true, really true, I believe it!
Which brings us to the idea of I won’t lose in order to win. And I won’t. I don’t believe it. I don’t want my victory marred by defeat. I don’t want my win to come at the cost of a loss. But is that realistic? The world would say, “No”. “You want to accomplish, you have to make sacrifices.” “You can’t have everything.” I played a game that was strange in its optimism, but it was telling the story of life after victory, a new beginning of life with hope. And at the end, the main character said, “I don’t want battles where we have to lose in order to win.” And she was right. She had won before, but lost someone precious in the process, and joy of victory was diminished by regret and sadness.
And if I believe in a life of hope, which I do, and I believe in victory, which I do, then I can’t believe in regret. It might seem heretical, when Jesus was our sin offering, our sacrifice to God. Shouldn’t we be dying and sacrificing as well? Not anything we should be keeping. What can I possibly lose that was good, when I gain God instead? My sin, I can’t claim as good and I won’t miss it. My self, that horrible demonic thing bent on sin and spreading misery because it is miserable; I won’t lament that tyranny. The truth is I lose nothing that was really good. Everything imperfect will get sifted so what remains is the best of what there was already, what I really wanted in whatever it was that was worth wanting.
Philippians 3:7 But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ.
Whatever I had used to secure my life under false pretenses I should lose because it was false. It seems that what we lose was rubbish holding us down. To lose sin, evil and death is itself a gain.
Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
Moreover, I give up nothing, but receive the gift from Christ. So, even if I don’t sacrifice but receive, does Jesus lose something to win us? I refuse to believe something that makes God less by making His design remorseful. Because how can I celebrate with God if I think, “But if only we had never sinned, then Jesus wouldn’t have had to die for us.” That is rubbish, God might suffer to win His Glory, but I refuse to believe He lost anything. I refuse to believe that when there is perfection and joy that anything might dampen that because of a good thing lost. So some suffering must not be loss. It must be true, but how and why and explanations I cannot give. Victory without defeat. Wins without losses. Joy without sorrow. I believe God knows what is best and made the best possible world. I cannot even recognize God’s definition of best, the idea is beyond me. But I feel assured that even my mistakes, I will look back on without regret, knowing God who is love and good, was there as well. When I came up short, He came through and that will be worth celebrating.
2 Corinthians 7:10 Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.
Jude 1:24-25 Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.
Maybe I am wrong, but the idea of happiness without any lingering sadness makes me want to cheer. And God who is love and really real is definitely happiness that satisfies.