The Christian message often produces in its hearers what could be termed a cognitive dissonance. It is replete with markers that are counter-intuitive to the normal human way of thinking and living e.g. love your enemy, turn the other cheek, forgive your brother seventy times seven...
The Psalmist writes,
But for Your sake we are killed all day long; We are considered as sheep to be slaughtered. - Ps. 44:22, Rom. 8:36
Jesus states in the Gospels,
"For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it. For what is a man profited if he gains the whole world, and loses or forfeits himself?" - Luke 9:24
And He has said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. - 2 Corinthians 12:9
J.C. Ryle, the 19th century Anglican minister writes:
Affliction is one of God’s medicines. By it He often teaches lessons which would be learned in no other way. By it He often draws souls away from sin and the world, which would otherwise have perished everlastingly. Health is a great blessing, but sanctified disease is a greater. Prosperity and worldly comfort, are what all naturally desire; but losses and crosses are far better for us, if they lead us to Christ. Thousands at the last day, will testify with David, and the nobleman before us, “It is good for me that I have been afflicted.” (Psalm. 119:71.)
And the writer in Hebrews:
Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Me: As we suffer the loss of things esteemed by the world, leaning on Him by His grace we find that for which we were created.
Losing what was never mine
Spectral idols tempting me
Fruitless paths and ravaged time
Companions in my misery
Fading hopes refuse decline
Distracted thoughts mocking me
Circle now this body find
A dying dream not to be
Yet ‘neath these ruins’ wasted climb
The quiet recall in memory
Reasserts the truth sublime
Through loss, life found eternally
-August 2008, Jack Miller