Have you ever won anything? A contest, sweepstakes, anything? It’s a surreal feeling when out of the hundreds of names, yours is picked. Even winning a couple of bucks on a scratch off does something for us. Science says that little win releases dopamine and testosterone in our brain. That’s why gambling can become addictive and we are wise to heed the author’s words to keep our lives “free from the love of money.” (Hebrews 13:5)
Of course, it’s not wrong to want to feel happy. Let’s be honest, we experience losing far more than winning. Sometimes it seems like the odds of success in life are even worse than winning the lottery. That was the recent prayer request of one of my friends and co-labors in Christ. “I’m just tired of losing,” he said, as he recounted some recent setbacks. Another friend, who is part of a local organization echoed similar feelings; “I’m just feeling burned out.” Losing affects the brain too. Chemicals like cortisol are released making us feel, to use an unscientific term, crummy.
Those are the times when we find ourselves searching for hope. That’s when we think of reading the book of Revelation for inspiration. Ok, probably not. We usually see Revelation as the go-to for eschatology, yet this verse has been standing out to me, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.” (Revelation 22:13)
You see, it’s not just my friends who have felt the weight of losing on their shoulders. I’ve experienced it too. In. So. Many. Ways. God knows our struggles and He tells us in this verse that He is everything we need from A to Z. He can be our “C” for comfort, our “P” for patience and our “R” for Rest. That is what I’ve been remembering this week as everyday life trials come flooding toward me.
Monday I went to WalMart to replace my electric shaver that suddenly stopped charging (sometimes it’s the little losing moments in life). On my way out of the store, I set off the merchandise alarm, which is always slightly embarrassing. “Uh-oh what’d you do?” the associate asked as she approached. I showed her the electric shaver and my receipt and she was satisfied, but she left me with this little nugget that bounced around in my brain for a while. “Tomorrow is February 1st you know. Fresh month. Fresh perspective.”
If you have been feeling like all you do is lose lately, let me offer some fresh perspective. Jesus hung out with those who were losing in life and He promised them hope, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) Jesus meets us in our weaknesses. Hebrews 4:15 tells us that Jesus can empathize with our weaknesses because He experienced humanity. How incredible it is to have a Savior who can be both mysterious and Holy, yet gentle and near!