Can Jesus Really Redeem Our Losses? (A guest post by Laurie Coombs)

Redemption is one of my favorite words in the English language.  It is hand of love slowly, deliberately taking something ugly and helping it become something entirely different, something inspiriting and lovely.  

Today we’ve been given a window seat to a story of unspeakable, miraculous redemption through the words of Lauri Coombs.  Lauri’s story is one of raw, real redemption, the sort that is brave and obedient beyond belief.  So please enjoy Lauri’s words and then encourage her warmly when you’re done, because we’re hosting beauty and we shall be beautiful hosts, eh? 

Close to thirteen years ago, I sat on top of a houseboat next to my dad watching the sun set behind the towering canyon walls of Lake Powell. Dad half-heartedly joked about how he was getting older, and I was sure to poke fun at his old age. I was twenty at the time, and my dad was only forty-six.

He was certainly not an old man by any standard.

We sat there for quite some time, talking and just enjoying one another’s company. Yet as we sat there, we had no idea the sun was not only setting for day, but it was about to set on our time together here on Earth as well.

Upon returning from an extended vacation a little more than a week later, I was stunned by what I was told. “Laurie, your dad was murdered last night,” I was told.

Truly, I have tried to come up with words to adequately convey what this terrible moment and the weeks and months that followed were like, but I’m not sure it’s possible. It was awful, to say the least.

After the funeral, I sat next to my boyfriend, now husband, Travis on the grass at a park, my mind reeling and attempting to make sense of my new reality with little success. Anthony, the man who murdered my dad, was a mere five miles away in a jail cell.

I thought of Anthony.

I thought of my dad.

It all felt so meaningless.

Inundated with confusion, grief, and anger, I softly began to speak. “They say that everything happens for a reason,” I said to Travis with my head down, playing with a blade of grass. “But how could there be a reason for this?”

I wasn’t looking for a response, and Travis didn’t have one.

Nothing made sense to me. I couldn’t wrap my mind around what had happened. My dad had been murdered.

He was gone.

At the time, I felt like no loss could compare to the one I just experienced. Yet, since then, I’ve learned that loss is something that is common to us all. Whether it’s the tragic loss of a parent, a spouse, a sibling, or your child; or it’s the loss of a job, your home, or perhaps even your identity––we all experience loss to one degree or another in our lifetime and none of it is easy to face.

The rhetorical question I asked Travis shortly after the death of my dad, is one we all find ourselves asking at some point. How could there be a reason for this?

The question is valid.

It’s okay to want to know that the losses we experience ultimately have purpose. No one wants to go through tragedy, trials, or loss for no reason.

When I lost my dad, it all felt like such a waste, and I wasn’t able to see how any good could come out of such a horrific tragedy. Yet, I have since been amazed by God and just how faithful He is to the promises He makes.

Romans 8:28 tells us, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose.”

Rest assured. God will work ALL things for good for those who love Him.

Nine years after my dad’s death, I began corresponding with Anthony, the man who committed the murder. Jesus was calling me to not only forgive my enemy, but to love him as well.

Of course, I had no idea how to do this or what it looked liked like to “love my enemy.” But through much prayer, each step to be taken became clear as Anthony and I worked through the innumerable issues at hand and worked toward forgiveness.

All the while, I allowed God unhindered access to the pain and bitterness that had taken root so many years prior, and He was faithful to heal.

Throughout this two year process, I truly witnessed the impossible happen.

Both Anthony and I were transformed by the grace of God.

Anthony was brought to a place of complete, true repentance, and he was set on a new path bringing glory to Jesus in prison.

And I was set free. Freed from the pain and the bitterness rooted deep within my soul. Freed to truly live without sorrow. Without fear.

It was nothing less than a work of God. Jesus brought good out of evil, love out of hate, and peace out of despair.

So, I would like to encourage you today to seek God in your pain. Bring your wounds to the Healer and allow Him to turn your loss into your strength.

We serve a God who redeems our losses. He is faithful and wants to set you free.

headshot bw square To read more about Laurie’s journey toward forgiveness, read Freedom Through Grace or {Redemption} “Your Testimony May Have Saved a Life!”

Laurie Coombs is a writer who encourages others to forgive others and to follow Jesus wherever He leads. She lives in Reno, Nevada with her husband, Travis. They have two little girls and are in the process of adopting from Ethiopia. Be sure to visit LaurieCoombs.org and connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.

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  • Mark Allman

    Laurie,

    Wow!

    I listened to a woman who had worked through forgiving the person who killed her daughter and the host asked her if this forgiveness was part of her healing. She responded that the forgiveness was not a part but the only way for her to heal.

    I think to not forgive can be more damaging to the one offended than the person doing the offending. Both need it but by not forgiving bitterness grows in ones soul and changes the person’s life. You give up part of yourself when you don’t forgive and the only way to reclaim it is to give up your right to hold onto that justified hurt and anger and resentment.

    • http://LaurieCoombs.org/ Laurie Coombs

      So true, Mark!

      We cannot heal apart from forgiveness, and I’ve also learned––through the process of trying for close to ten years to forgive on my own––that we cannot forgive apart from God.

      I like what you said about giving up our right to hold onto justified hurt, anger, and resentment. For many, our anger is founded, but we’re called to forgive nonetheless so that we can come to a place of peace and healing with our pasts.

      Forgiveness is intended to be a blessing. It’s not some heavy-handed command intended to harm us further. Forgiveness releases the offender to God, allowing God to enact the just consequence. And rest assured, justice will be served––one way or another––whether by the blood of Jesus or by eternal punishment (though I certainly pray for the former).

      Thank you for your words.

      God bless!