Nothing Is Ever Really Lost

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Alan Robinson and Walter MacFarlane have been close friends for 60 years. It all started when they played football together at a prep school in Hawaii. The men grew up, lived a few houses apart, raised families and remained good friends all their working years. As they approached retirement, they each decided to take a DNA test and uncover the details of their lost personal histories. Walter never knew his father, and Alan never knew his birth mother because he had been adopted as a baby. The men felt it was time to uncover who they really were, since both longed for family connections they had never known.

Honolulu news station KHON-TV reported that after a number of unsuccessful searches on social media and other sites, MacFarlane finally found a clear match using a DNA-matching website. He was excited to tell his friend that someone out there had an identical X chromosome with his. This meant that the unknown man and he had the very same birth mother and Walter actually had a brother he never knew about. After the DNA match was confirmed, the two mystery men exchanged names. To Walters amazement, his unknown brother was none other than his best friend Alan. Both men said it was an “overwhelming experience” when they revealed the wonderful news to friends and family.

“This is the best Christmas present I could ever imagine,” Mr Robinson said. “I had a younger brother, and never knew it. It’s funny that all these years I thought I never had any close relatives, but I always had my best friend Walter. The funny thing is, I adopted his kids as my own nieces and nephews. They just accepted me as part of the family. Now I find out they really are my nieces and nephews. What’s so amazing is that all these years our families grew up together, and I thought I had lost that time with family but nothing was ever really lost. It’s overwhelming to think about right now.” He went on to say, “There were many times when I thought, you know, I look like Robi in some ways, but I just blew it off as wishful thinking. Now I know why!”

Many times in life it seems as if something has been lost forever. We can think something that was so important is gone, and it can never be recovered. A friendship, a relationship or even personal property that had great meaning, can all go missing. At such times, the longing to have everything made right can begin to overtake our lives, and rob us of the joy of living for today. The question is, what will we do in situations like this? The answer to that question really depends on us.We can move on, hold on to hope and make the best of things, or we can hold on to the loss and let that pain rule our lives.

In some cases, things can actually be restored, and bridges long gone can be mended. Other times, you may have to forgive what happened, and just let things go into the hands of God. Every circumstance has a solution of it’s own, and we must be patient, make the best of things and keep a good attitude, no matter how things have turned out. A friend of mine is a good example of how holding on to hope and not the loss, allows God and circumstances to work out what seems impossible. We just have to do our part, keep looking, and be patient.

45 years ago he was living down south. He had traveled there in his truck with his trusty childhood .22 rifle, from his home in upstate New York. One day someone broke into his truck and took that prized childhood gun. Fortunately, he had removed the bolt from it and that was the only thing he had to remind him of that treasure. He held on to that bolt for decades and continue to confess that one day he would find the gun that fit that bolt. Sure enough, thirty odd years later he found the same year and model gun, and the owner basically gave it to him because it was missing the bolt. His bolt slipped right into the gun frame as a perfect match, and at that moment he realized anything is possible if you have hope and don’t give up.

If you have suffered a loss, missed an opportunity or had something just slip through your fingers, don’t despair. All is not lost. God is able to do amazing things if you will just relax, continue to do your part and patiently hold onto the hope that is within you. In the economy of God, nothing is ever really lost. It may be misplaced for a season, or be in hiding for a reason. It may have been taken from you by force, or you may have let go of it by mistake. The thing is, don’t count it as a loss. I am here to tell you that nothing is impossible with God. If He can raise people from the dead and part the Red Sea, He can surely restore anything that seems long gone and lost forever.

Look with the eyes of faith. Never, ever give up. Trust God in all things. Bathe everything in prayer. Dwell on all the wonderful things God has already done. Be patient and don’t let your heart be troubled. He is a master at doing what is impossible for everyone else. Have a heart of expectant gratitude and open joy. Live life to the fullest and take others with you, where ever that may be. By doing these things you will impact everyone who gets near you and be more than a life-changer, you will be a world-changer. My question is simple; “why tell the stories of what others have done when you can really live life and tell stories of your own?” Remember, nothing is ever lost, but it may be delayed for a season or a reason! You just have to wait for it…….

Thinking It Through

Old_Red_CarThe day we live in is often over run by emotional decision-making, impulsive decisions, lack of prayer, not getting wise counsel and not thinking things all the way through. I have seen this deadly, over-powering combination have a devastating impact on the lives of many people, and the finances of numerous families. In the moment of what seems to be a crisis, snap decisions get made that look like a necessary answer to the problem at hand. Unfortunately, without fully thinking through things, the immediate solution that gets embraced usually has a long-term problem attached to it that will complicate life, frustrate everyone and cause a multitude of problems that tie us up in ways we never anticipated. All this mess happens because emotions rule us and we will not slow down long enough to think things through.

Years ago I had a car that was running pretty good. It was not the most beautiful thing on the road, but it was dependable and got me where I needed to go. I bought it for cash so the repairs it needed were paid for in full as they came up. That car got me to work and it let me go where I wanted to go with my free time. Then something happened that change everything. One of my friends purchased a newer vehicle and he was “only paying $120 a month”. Every time I saw him in that car something in me got fired up. Eventually, my car was in need of another minor repair and with that, what had always been a good car, was now viewed as a piece of junk. Thus, on an emotional impulse, without any counsel and without thinking it all the way through, I used my good car as a down payment for a “nice car”. Best of all it was only going to cost me $100 a month. What a deal!!!

Oh what joy filled my soul. I was such a happy camper as I drove that car off the lot and down the highway. It really was a nicer car and I just knew I had made the right decision. Of course this vehicle needed minor repairs, just like my other car, but the cash I always had on hand for repairs now went to pay the car loan. So, I was forced to work extra hours to keep it running, and lost the free time I always had on weekends. The newer car needed to use higher octane gas and that cost me more to drive it. My car insurance went up, the inspection and registration cost more, and the repair bills on this newer vehicle were bigger as well. I realized very quickly that I did not own my car, but it owned me. It took my free time, my finances, my freedom, my weekends and the convenience I always had of going when I wanted to go with extra money in my pocket. I was a prisoner of one emotional decision because I had not waited, calmed down and thought it through. Worst of all, my old car was gone and I could not get it back.

How about you? Has a decision you made changed your life in ways you could not have imagined? Has an action, not thought all the way through, had a negative impact on your life, or the lives of those you love? Did you solve one issue, only to discover that everyone was left struggling with things that were never an issue in the past? Is there less freedom, more expense, the same income, less time, and more frequent inconvenience for you and those around you? If you answered yes to any of these questions, the bad news is that you have fallen into  the same emotional decision trap I did. The good news is you don’t have to live there forever. You will have to live with the negative, even painful consequences for now, but one good decision at a time will allow you to climb out of that emotional black hole.

It took me quite a while to save up enough money to get rid of that money sucking car. It took discipline, self-restraint, emotional control, wise counsel and determination to keep my eyes on the goal. That mistake cost me a lot, and it changed my life for the worse. However, I learned from the mess I put my self and my family through, and so can you. I did not look to others to bail me out, and neither should you. I did not get offended when people did not jump at the chance help me every time the mess I made over ran me. Don’t you go there either. Most of all, I did not become negative or critical about the life I had chosen for myself. I embraced the stupid thing I did and never did it again!

Did you catch that?  I owned it, prayed and rode out the storm. I grew up and stopped whining. I took full responsibility for my stupid, poorly thought out decision and the mess it caused me and others. I made things right with those I had selfishly impacted. I slowed down and began to think about what might happen in any given situation. I began to make better decisions in moments of crisis, and one step after another, things slowly got better. It was not an instant success story, but more of a slow, painful climb out of a slippery hole I had dug for myself.

Perhaps this is the year you will begin to think things through as well. If you have made emotionally based, impulsive decisions, no doubt your life is not what you want it to be, and that can really stink. Fortunately, you and those you love, don’t have to stay in that pit of despair forever. If you refuse to change, then your life is what you have made it. Stop complaining and just live with it. However, if you have decided not to be stuck in past mistakes, you can begin today to build a better life, one decision at a time.

Think things through. Don’t let emotions push the decision button in your life. Talk to those who have the kind of life you want, and get your counsel from them. Avoid the “experts” who are ready to show you the way but clearly have not found it for themselves. Slow down and let the dust settle before you make a move. Most of all take it to prayer, and if you are married, be sure your husband or wife is in full agreement. Never forget that your spouse is God’s safety net in every decision to be made! Do these things and next year at this time, life for you could be so much better. Now get out of that pit of emotional decisions, and begin to enjoy 2018 as your best year ever!