Shaul (Paul) wrote a couple of letters to a young and relatively inexperienced Messianic Kehillot leader called Timothy. The intent of these letters was to encourage and support Timothy in leading men that were older and somewhat uncomfortable to being managed, so to speak, by someone much younger than they were.
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In the second letter, Shaul told Timothy this:
For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.
In other words, stand your ground and don’t allow yourself to be pushed around, but at the same time, be loving, gentle, and humble. And most of all, trust in God and have faith that he will make things work out in the long run.
I have been around the block more than once, and have known many people whose weak faith, or lack thereof, makes them afraid of many things, especially of the loss of people they care for.
This fear of loss controls them, and they become afraid to get close, either in friendly or intimate relationships, because they have lost loved ones in the past.
When we lose someone we love, we never get “over” it, we just get “passed” it. We learn to live with the loss and continue with our lives.
That is what we are supposed to do, but many whom I have known have not been able to work through their loss, and what they end up doing is not getting as close to someone they love as they could. This isn’t because they really don’t like them, but quite the opposite: their love for them makes them fear losing them one day.
They figure like this: if I don’t get so close to this person, then it won’t hurt as bad when they die.
Well, there seems to be some logic to that, but in reality what that attitude results in is that they have already lost that person.
The fear of losing them has reduced the ability to get the most joy out of being with them!
If you ask me, that’s just meshuggah!
Everyone dies, we all suffer the loss of loved ones, and the only thing that remains are the memories we have of the times we were with them. If you ask me, the best way to make losing someone easier to handle is to know, absolutely, that I got the most out of being with them while I could.
The more memories we have, the better it will be, and when someone refuses to regularly get together with friends, or to reduce the level of intimacy with a spouse or partner, or some other form of physical and emotional “cocooning”, that fear of loss is making them lose out right now.
I believe the reason there is so much fear in people, especially the fear of loss, is that they don’t have anything else to fall back on. Not that anyone or anything can replace someone we love, but if we have a deep and abiding faith in God, and trust that he is in charge, we can be comforted and not so fearful because we know he is doing what is best for those who are faithful to him.
But what about those we love who have a weak faith? Or maybe aren’t saved? Or maybe don’t even want to be saved? What about them? If I know that God will not accept into his presence someone who has not atoned for their sins, through Messiah Yeshua, then how can I not feel terrible about their passing?
You will feel terrible for those who you care for and know are not saved, but that is part of living. My parents were never religious, and I know that my father would have refused, had he been conscious, to accept Yeshua on his deathbed. So while he lay comatose, I prayed for him, trying to intercede, but I have to say I am not sure what the result of that will be. So what do I do? I trust in God, and accept that not everyone I care about will be saved. It sucks, but that’s the way it is. After all, when Yeshua said it was the road less traveled and the narrow gate, he wasn’t kidding.
Many people, and maybe even many of the people we care about, will not be in God’s presence throughout eternity, and that is a fact of life (or should I say a fact of afterlife?) that we must accept.
So what do I do? I try to make the most of what ever relationships I have now, so that later I can look back without regret, knowing that I was able to get the most out of my friendships, my family, and especially my marriage.
The last thing I want to feel when I think about someone I cared for who has passed on is regret that I didn’t tell them how I felt about them, or spent as much time with them as could have, or (worse than anything else) not been as intimate and loving to them as I could have been.
So have faith in God that everything will be okay, and with that faith take hold of your relationships today and make the most you can out of them, because when they are gone, they are gone, forever.
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That’s it for today, so l’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!