Loss, and a little boy’s Tonka Toy

When I was a little boy, I had a Tonka toy bulldozer, very much like the one pictured above. I remember playing with it by the hour and being fascinated by how the rubber tracks on it would move around the wheels, yet stay on nearly any direction I turned it.  Figuring out just how sharp it could turn without pulling them off was part of the game.

One day, my younger sister and I were playing at a nearby park and for some reason we had taken the rubber tracks off of the dozer. I remember the deep feeling of loss when we arrived home for supper and realized that the tracks were missing. Without them, the bulldozer was incomplete.

I’m foggy on this part, but I think I was required by mom to wait until after supper was finished to return to the park to search for the tracks.

I remember finding them, I think under the slide, and being so happy that they were not taken yet by some other child.

Time and Perspective

Looking back on that experience helps me realize that while loss can be so painful, time and perspective can make things right.

I look back on that tension, that sense of loss with the Tonka toy and I can get a tiny glimpse into what life might be like in heaven.

I was just a little boy, and I was so distraught at the time, but 40-some years later, with the perspective of a parent and an adult, its easy to see how small this loss really was. I even look back on this story with fondness now.

How Do We Gain Perspective Now?

So my job today is to think: how do I gain the perspective of heaven? How do I look at “these light and momentary afflictions” and see them from a more mature view?

(I’ll remind you that when Paul called “these afflictions” light in 2 Cor. 4… they were anything but – he had just listed being pressed on every side by trouble, being hunted, knocked down, suffering, and in danger of death!)

I think specifically of grief, and the trauma of the sudden loss of a loved one. This is somehow comparable to my 6 year old self in a very specific way: How much better of a perspective will I have in heaven? And how can I gain that perspective now?

One of the key ways I’ve found is through silence before God. And part of the reason is that the loss of important people in your life does not lend itself to rationalization. Thinking about it, asking why, pondering, and testing God does not lead to peace or fulfillment. Even Job, in the old testament, did not get answers from God for his suffering. Only the promise that God is greater than all these things.

Job’s perspective, that he deserved answers from God, was tossed out the window. We are His creation, and we do not command Him to answer us. The correct posture when it comes to suffering and loss is submission.

Submission in Meditation

My meditation time is an act of submission. No matter what the worries, grief, stress, or pain is in my life, sitting down to give it all up to God creates the proper perspective in my heart.

Would you try it out today?

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    1. Hi Georgia,

      I’m sorry, but we require the information to verify your credit card details. Without your address we cannot charge your credit card because there’s too much risk for the card company.

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  1. Thank you, Dean, for this article about your 6 year old self. I used a portion of your article, that part about submission, for a friend of mine who has recently been diagnosed with a chronic lung condition. God bless you and your ministry.