What Are You Afraid To Lose?
by: Abby Kelly
What are you afraid of losing?
Everyone is afraid of losing something–a loved one, a job, their reputation, sanity, safety, peace, hope …
Or perhaps we’re afraid of something being taken from us; the anxiety is the same regardless of how this one (or more) precious thing is wrenched from our grasp.
Almost a year ago, my husband and I lost a baby. We had never expected to be parents, and after 13 years of marriage, not only resigned ourselves to this fact, but completely accepted it with peace. Until I got pregnant. Suddenly, God opened wide the doors of longing, excitement and anticipation. A whole new world brightened on our horizon. We wanted that baby more than anything. However, I miscarried at 11 weeks. The doctors assume the baby died a few weeks earlier and my body took a little time to realize the loss. My heart took much, much longer.
This morning, I poured over a familiar passage of scripture, one that I admit, I’ve been known to scan or skip when pressed for time. I mean, almost everyone has heard this story since Vacation Bible School:
Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, ‘Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.’ But the Lord answered her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.’ ” Luke 10:38-42
Our ears are primed for Martha’s chastisement. Of course she was too busy, running around like a chicken with her head cut off, trying to “do, do, do” when obviously the most important thing in the room (in the entire world) was Jesus. But the Bible tells us that God looks at the heart. Jesus knew the motivation behind Martha’s frantic activity. She was worried about loss.
Jesus didn’t say, “Martha, I’m here. Don’t you know that relationships take priority? Don’t you believe that I’m the Messiah?” Neither did He say, “Martha, you’re too busy. You’re overcommitted.”
That’s what we hear, and I do think in our modern culture, that over commitment, busyness and misplaced priorities are a problem. But Jesus spoke of Martha’s anxiety and trouble. One meaning of that Greek word for anxious is “seeking to promote one’s own interest”. It wasn’t merely that Martha was busy serving, perhaps she was busy trying to preserve her reputation as hostess with the most-est. Maybe she was worried about losing her status in the community if she didn’t pull off the best party with a local celebrity as guest of honor. Maybe she feared losing Jesus’ favor if her dinner party flopped.
Also, Jesus spoke of Mary’s good choice, or distilled directly from the Greek, “the good, pleasant, agreeable, joyful, happy, useful, elegant, distinguished portion”. This good choice would “not be taken away from her”.
In November last year, I got pregnant again. For the first 28 weeks, I fretted that this one too would be taken away from me. I worried through those months that my baby would be taken, my hopes would be taken, my peace was indeed taken. Now, here we are less than six weeks from Baby’s arrival and only recently have I found the courage to set aside my fear and all my attempts to control the situation.
Control–a thing I never really had anyway. I have never had the power to change the color of one hair on my head (Matthew 5:36), nor have I ever had the power to create or sustain life (1 Samuel 2:6). I have never held the rights to my own life for a single day (Luke 9:24).
Only this morning did I clearly hear Christ’s voice as He gently pointed out that the choice is mine. I can allow myself to worry about loss, embroiled in “what ifs” and ignorantly unaware of the God who loves me.
Or, I can sit at His feet and make the good, pleasant, happy choice to trust Him and cast all my cares upon Him–the One Who has never lost a thing. (2 Timothy 1:12)