A few weeks ago, we lost my husband’s Android phone in a cab and never got it back. Losing a phone is such a hassle. We had to report the stolen sim card, rebuild our contacts from scratch, and adjust our budget to buy a replacement. In spite of it all, we held on to this simple truth we’ve proven many times over in our lives: When God takes something away, He only wants to make room for something else.
And so, two Saturdays ago, God blessed us with a new phone.
Losing the old phone was not as difficult to accept as losing the memories that were stored in it—photos and videos from New York, long-distance text messages sent from two years ago. It was the same phone that got us through our long-distance relationship, just like the laptops that were stolen 5 months ago.
Reflecting on these things, it strikes me and my husband how God seems to be stripping us off things we used to hold on to in the past, and giving us clean slates to paint new memories with. Losing our gadgets is a mere representation of that, but I believe that mostly, God is doing some general cleaning inside of us.
Three things I learned about losing things:
(And by “things” I mean material possessions, dreams, jobs, people we love—stuff that are tangible and intangible.)
When God takes something away, He replaces it with the best
And no, it doesn’t always mean a better phone, or a better job. It doesn’t always mean more. When we lost our laptops, it took us about 2 months before we were able to buy a new one. Two laptops lost, and God replaced it with one new laptop, not three. But what we gained from that experience is more than just material gratification. In exchange for what was stolen from us, God gave us joy, and contentment, and more quality time together. ;)
When I lost my home-based job, God didn’t replace it with a higher-paying job or a job with less working hours. Instead, He gave me job security, health insurance for me and my husband, and the opportunity to work with people again. God replaces good things in our lives with the best, and in ways we don’t expect.
When God takes something away, it’s most likely not good for us
We sometimes hold on to stuff that are not doing us good, people that are holding us back, dreams that are taking us away from our true calling. Sometimes we don’t realize that we’re carrying too many excess baggage, preventing us from running light. So God takes them away even if we get hurt in the process, and when He does, He’s actually releasing us from more pain.
And mind you, God is more stubborn than we can ever be. So rather than playing tug of war with God, or rather than being angry at Him, just let go. Open your palm and release from your kung-fu tight grip what He’s clearly taking away from you. Trust that He knows what’s best.
When God takes something away, sometimes we don’t have to know why
One thing my husband and I learned over the past year is how everything is under God’s prerogative. He gives and takes away, He alters schedules and plans, He accomplishes His will whatever it takes—even if it requires parting oceans and sending His own Son to die. He sees things from a bigger perspective, and when things do not make sense to us, to Him, everything is happening according to plan.
When God took my Dad home, He didn’t replace him with someone else—there’s just no way my Dad could ever be replaced in my life. There are losses that are better left unexplained, lest we start questioning God’s goodness. The key to acceptance is believing in your heart that God knows what He’s doing and that He means well. He is sovereign above all things, and He will have His way when He pleases and for His glory. Maybe God will reveal answers in this lifetime, maybe not. It doesn’t matter.
We don’t always have to know why. What matters is, He does.