Better to Have Loved & Lost?

Think about a time when you wholeheartedly loved someone and felt adored by them. As you think about that person––spouse, parent, boyfriend or girlfriend, sibling, child––how would you describe that love? What emotions or feelings come to mind?

I think of: expectation, joy, excitement, purpose, belonging, peace, contentment, hope.

As human beings, we cannot live healthy, abundant, prolonged lives without love. We are created to love. We long for love. We will do crazy things to show our love. But at some point in our lives, we will all lose love. What then?

·  A husband sits silently, mourning the end of 50 years with his beloved bride.

·  A young mother whispers goodbye to her newborn after seven short days together.

·  A twelve-year-old weeps over her father’s coffin.

“‘Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.”

Is that true?

Alfred Lord Tennyson, 19th century British poet laureate, penned these famous words after the death of a loved one. Most of us who have experienced the loss of someone we desperately loved would begrudgingly agree. Even on our hardest days, cherished memories mix with sorrow. Although the dagger of loss cuts deep at times, nothing compares with our time together and the love we shared. Those can never be taken from us.

But what if we “lose” someone to divorce or breakup? Then is it better to have loved and lost? What if we loved someone but they didn’t truly love us back? What if they used us? What if they hurt us––mentally or physically? Is it better to have loved and lost? As someone who has experienced all of these, I admit there is no clear answer.

What I can say without a doubt: There is a love that will never fail us.

Even though life bears loss, pain, and regret, there is love waiting to hold us tight. Even though there will be times when we fiercely desire intimacy and belonging, there is love calling us to draw near. No matter where we’ve been, what we’ve done, or what has happened to us, there is someone who loves us passionately and unconditionally. He loves us no matter what. He loves us right where we are for who we are. Who is He? Our Savior, Jesus Christ. He died for us so that we can live beyond death and experience His eternal love.

In my darkest days, I have clung to God’s Word. Love is used over 600 times in the Bible, and here’s a taste of what God tells us about love:

·       God is love. (1 John 4:8)

·       This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. (1 John 4:10)

·       This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down His life for us. (1 John 3:16)

·       Whoever loves God is known by God. (1 Corinthians 8:3)

·       Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good. His love endures forever. (Psalm 136:1)

·       I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.(Ephesians 3:17-19)

God’s love is eternal. God’s love is unchanging. God’s love is sacrificial. God’s love is perfect.  God’s love is poured out for you and for me through His Son, Jesus Christ.

Friend, if you’re longing for love past or future, know that you’re not alone. Embrace your desire as a hope for the eternal love of God––love which heals; love which brings new life; love which He wants to share with you today. Reach out to Jesus in prayer and press into His love. Cling to God’s Word and be lifted by the truth of His love. And by His strength, may you dwell in the richness of His eclipsing love.

Dr. Joy Dahl is a Jesus girl transformed by God’s grace. Through many trials she has learned to rise above the depths of real life by holding fast to truth and hope. Today Joy passionately helps believers embrace their calling as Christ’s ambassadors in the world. As a CPA and a Chief Financial Officer by trade, Joy has focused most of her career on start-up and high-growth companies in Washington DC, New York, and Texas. Joy earned three degrees from Dallas Theological Seminary: Master of Christian Education, Master of Biblical Studies, and Doctor of Ministry. Joy is the visionary behind the BOLDLY Conference (www.boldlyconference.com)––the first-of-it’s kind Faith + Work for Women Conference. Integration of faith and work remains the foundation and emphasis of her work and teaching. Joy and her husband, Gordon, call Dallas home. Joy’s favorite things include: God’s Word, international travel, dark chocolate, horses, flowers, beach getaways, running, big dogs, and adventure!