It was a perfect day. Wendy and I were celebrating our 27th wedding anniversary together, walking along Newport Beach on a Saturday morning. The sun was perfect. The sky was perfect. Her hand in mine was perfect. We found a sand dollar topped with a purple anemone. It was perfect.
As we walked along together, the sound of the waves washing over us, the sea air in our lungs, basking in the goodness of God, this thought came to me:
""God doesn't want to take anything away from us. He only wants to give us more of Himself."
That word seemed to come from somewhere outside of my own heart. I tucked it away and held it inside the rest of the day.
Later, Wendy and I talked about this over coffee. She reminded me that the Lord does "give and take away" and that sometimes we do lose those we love; tragedy strikes; accidents happen; pain is part of every life.
So, I continued to think on that word I received earlier, when all was right with the world. I went to sleep that night thinking about all of it. It echoed in my dreams all night long.
In the morning I woke up and went into the living room to have some quiet time, and a cup of coffee, while everyone in the house was still asleep.
In the silence, just me and God, I felt like I understood the statement: "God doesn't want to take anything away from us. He just wants to give us more of Himself."
The truth is that God may remove something from our lives, or allow someone or something to be lost, temporarily. In those cases, God is committed to using that as an opportunity to fill the gap with more of Himself. He fills the emptiness with His love. He rushes into the wound and heals us with His own hands.
We may lose loved ones in an unforseen tragedy, or have to watch someone we care about succumb to death. But in those moments He is with us. He doesn't want to take anyone, or anything from us, but He will use even these momentary losses to give us even more of Himself.
In the end, we receive back all that we may have had to let go of in this life. He has promised us:
"Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or wife or brothers or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God will fail to receive many times more in this age — and in the age to come, eternal life.” - (Luke 18:30)