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How your suffering, grief, and loss could be someone else’s blessing.

I want to start off todays topics by asking you a question: Have you ever experienced loss?

Now what type of loss am I talking about?  I am talking about any type of loss that has caused you some form of emotional discomfort. See, there are losses that we experience that we chalk up to just normal daily life, like losing a receipt, a pencil, or your glasses. Those type of losses don’t really impact us in a significant negative way. 

The type of loss I want to talk about are the abnormal, out of the ordinary, emotionally traumatic losses. Such as losing your job. Or something of great value like a piece of jewelry that a loved one gave you.  Or even money.

Now I know to some of you these things could be construed as superficial, because each of those things can be replaced with some effort, but what about the loss of a loved one? A life can never be replaced like a job, jewelry, and money.

So, how is it that your loss can be someone else’s blessing??

Well, let’s go to our Bible to Matthew 17:24-27 and allow me to break it apart for you…

24 When they came to Capernaum, the collectors of the two-drachma tax went up to Peter and said, “Does your teacher not pay the tax?”

25 He said, “Yes.” And when he came into the house, Jesus spoke to him first, saying, “What do you think, Simon? From whom do kings of the earth take toll or tax? From their sons or from others?”

26 And when he said, “From others,” Jesus said to him, “Then the sons are free.

27 However, not to give offense to them, go to the sea and cast a hook and take the first fish that comes up, and when you open its mouth you will find a shekel. Take that and give it to them for me and for yourself.”

Now let’s go back to verse 27… I want to ask you a question. Where did the fish get the gold coin from?

Imagine if you will, a hardworking man with a wife and 7 kids. Let’s call him Joe. Joe is a hardworking man. For the past 10 years Joe has woken up every day at the crack of dawn to go to work and earn money to sustain his family. Joe lives pay check to pay check. Well, one morning prior to Joe’s going to work, his wife gives him their last bit of money and asks him to go to the store and bring back food.  With joy, he kisses her and says, “Yes my love.” She says, “Now Joe, payday aint until next week, so don’t waste it junk food. We need enough food to last us until pay day.” He responds, “Baaaaby, don’t worry. I got this. I know what to buy.”   And Joe hurries off to work.  Joes boss, tell him, “Joe, I need you to get on the boat and help the men bring in today’s catch. So Joe gets on the ship, and it sets sale deep into the sea. As they are approaching their spot, a storm comes out of nowhere. The waves are crashing, the ship is rocking, the rain is pouring, and the thunder is clapping.  As Joe tries to keep his balance on the top deck of the ship, he slips and falls. And then the gold coins his wife gave him rolls out of his pockets headed for the edge of the ship and falls into the water…Joe is now in shock. What is he going to do? What is he going to tell his wife? While joe is on his hands and knees on the edge of the ship deck looking out into the ocean… A few meters down into the sea, there is a fish that sees a shiny coin sinking to the ocean floor, and the fish eats the coin.

A few hours later, the storm dies down, and Joe has to return home with the bad news. 


Now let me ask you a question… How do you think Joe felt? How do you think his wife and kids felt? How do you think they responded with they found out that they were not going to have any food to eat for an entire week?

Do you think they saw this as a blessing of God?? These people were about to suffer.  So you may be thinking, “Dr. Raf.. what does this got to do with the Matthew 17? Well, let’s read verse 27 again: “go to the sea and cast a hook and take the first fish that comes up, and when you open its mouth you will find a shekel.”  Where do you think the coin came from? See, in order for Jesus and Peter to get blessed, someone has to suffer loss.

Well, you might be thinking, “Well, Dr. Raf, that’s JESUS and PETER. They are the big people of the Bible. Of course they would get blessed” Well, let’s read Matthew 13:44


Matthew 13:44

 “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.


This guy found money buried in a field. Who do you think the money belonged to? DO you think someone suffered loss? They could have been traveling through that area on a rainy night, and lost their money bag without even knowing it. How do you think the original owners felt when they arrived to their final destination realizing that their hard earned money was gone?  See, their loss became someone else’s blessing.


Now I hear some of you saying, well Dr. Raf, that is all material stuff that can be replaced. How could the loss of a loved one be someone else’s blessing?


OH, I am so glad you asked.  The first thing I want you to understand is that humans are usually spurred to take action only when the loss of life is imminent. See, nobody wants to die. We all want to live a long life. And that is NOT a bad thing. However, it is because of this desire to LIVE that it takes DEATH to spur us to action.  See, if enough people start dying, then man tends to try to mitigate the cause of death so that people will live. Take for example Diabetes.  Before there were treatments for Diabetes thousands of people would die from that disease. Well, think about this, if people had not died, would we have treatments today? The same is with cancer, and other life threatening sicknesses. Unless a significant number of people start dying, then there would be no treatments or cures available. See, the loss of your loved one is a blessing for other people because had your loved one not dies, countless others would be suffering the grief of loss today. Well, you may be thinking, Dr. Raf, that’s not fair. Why does my loved one have to DIE so that others can benefit? 

Hold up a minute. Don’t think that you were exempt from this benefit! You too are a beneficiary of someone’s death. Had someone not died from sickness of disease, or even an act of violence, YOU would NOT be here today. Or if you would have been here, your quality of life would be significantly different.  You would have had some form of palsy, or missing limbs, or some other life altering debilitation, or psychiatric illness… The reason why you and your family are able to even grieve the loss of your loved one is because YOU benefited from the loss of someone else’s loved one.

Final example… If you are Black. You definitely benefited from the death of others. How many Black people were lynched, burned, raped, and mistreated until people were spurred to action? Each one of those lives loss WAS NOT IN VAIN! Each death served a purpose. The purpose was to motivate and spur CHANGE in our world so that it would benefit future generations. So don’t you dare EVER believe that a death of a loved one was senseless, or pointless. There is a bigger picture being painted, and that loved one’s life was just one brush stroke. 

See some brush strokes are long- meaning a long life… Some are short- meaning a short life. But all strokes are significant and needed in order for the overall painting to be completed.

God is the painter. We are the paint. Let us never lose sight of how significant every life is to God. And let us never get so short sighted and egocentric to believe that the loss of our loved one was meaningless and cruel. You have no idea how vital that person’s brush stroke is to the Kingdom. You personally may not ever see or experience the benefit from their death, but someone down the line will.


-Dr. Usher

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