For Maria Camilla...
This weekend, I've had to think about loss a lot because I've experienced one. Circumstances are such that I will very likely not see my niece for several years, if not ever. This was a loss I expected and hoped and prayed God would spare me from. But ultimately, it was only by God's sovereign will that the answer to that prayer was no. I've cried. I've leaned on colleagues for support. I've searched the Scriptures and prayed. The result was a lesson for me in the value of Christ - a lesson I pray Maria learns well.
Philippians 3:8-11 says this:
I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.
For Paul, what I feel now he felt for everything he had gained. He considered it all a loss in light of the fact that Christ was supremely valuable. He didn't just think that his things were loss, he suffered the loss of all things. It was hard. He gave it up so that he could gain Christ and one day be found in Him with His righteousness through faith in what he longed to know about Christ. He knew the knowledge he longed for wouldn't come easy. It would come through suffering by being conformed to Christ's death. In other words, He knew he would have to die to himself and follow Christ.
Maria, I think the best thing I could wish for you on this second day of your life is loss. Not loss like I've experienced it today where I sinfully idolized you until you were taken away from me by force, but the joy of surrendering everything you have and everything you are to Jesus because He is infinitely more valuable than all of it. You couldn't cling to anything more valuable. You can't find righteousness in any other endeavor. I pray you fellowship in His sufferings, be conformed to His death, and press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus so that if we do not meet in this life, we will attain the resurrection from the dead and kneel side by side before the throne of God for all eternity in paradise.
Your aunt and uncle love you immensely; God loves you more!
I follow Christ. I have a beautiful wife Megan and three wonderful children, Harrisen, Rebekah, and Carter. I am a candidate for a Ph.D. in ethics from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, have an M.Div. from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary and a JD from the University of Arkansas, am licensed to practice law in several state and federal courts, and live in Rogers, Arkansas. I write a blog and produce a podcast. And I do it all that others may know Christ.