How has loss affected your faith? There is something particularly painful and special about the loss of a baby's life. This type of loss is felt deep within the darkest corners of our soul and it erupts with a violently inexplicable why? A life so youthful and full of potential makes our human mind unable to grasp the inconceivability of it's loss. Then there's also the slew of follow up questions all directed at God. Why my child, why this child, why me? I had all the same questions, all the same feelings and all the same anger at the same deity I thought I could trust in all things.
Before my loss, I considered myself a pretty good Christian. I went to church every sabbath, was well versed in the bible, prayed at least twice a day...yada yada yada. You get the point. Then my baby died unexpectedly and there truly was no amount of Christiandom that could have saved me or brought me hope. What I mean is that being a good church member, knowing all the right bible verses, knowing the ten commandments nor all my goodnight prayers could have prepared my soul for this type of spiritual warfare.
Those things may not have saved me but they did serve a purpose. I am certain all those things helped pattern my decision to stay faithful. I drew up a decision tree in my fog and grief stricken mind as best as I could. On one side there was God with a map to a challenging yet attainable pathway leading to the hope of an afterlife. On the other side there was just me with an unmapped path unbound to faith that lead to the unknown.
God didn't make my decision for me. My decision was not easy to make but I had developed habits and practices that helped me make a choice for Him, for hope and for the son that I lost. You see my choice wasn't between God or no God, faith or no faith. My choice was between everlasting hope or finite anger. I choose hope.
God With Us
Did your pastor ever tell you the awful and grotesque words everything happens for a reason? So for what good reason do you think our children were torn away from us exactly?
(thankfully our church pastor is not one of those confused pastors)
I seriously hope you didn't encounter that either. But I'm sure it goes well with the popular kind of prosperity gospel. You know that FAKE gospel that says that if you only had prayed hard enough or had enough true faith, then maybe just maybe the Lord would have blessed you instead of cursed you. I don't know about you, but that is not the God I serve.
The God I serve says we live in an aweful sinful world where light and dark coexist and are at strife with each other (Ephesians 6:12). Where rain falls on the faithful and the unfaithful alike and where misfortune falls on the godly and the ungodly (Mathew 5:45). There are many faithful and godly people in the bible who were well aquatinted with grief (Job), with hunger and persecution (Elijah) and even with death (Paul, Peter, James, Stephen). In fact it is a plain and true biblical teaching that all who follow Yeshua (Jesus) will suffer to one degree or another (Philippians 1:29).
As followers of Jesus we should not wonder and ask, why do bad things happen to good people? But instead we are to bring comfort and healing to those who are hurting. You may be experiencing a fate of fortune today, but there is no guarantee that tomorrow you will not also experience a fate of misfortune.
God of Sorrows
Above all other stories in the bible, there is Yehsua who walked with sorrow and grief that no human can understand (Isaiah 53:3). He walked this path with no one to comfort him or his soul but his Father alone. He comforted those who mourned and healed the sick, but at the end of the day he felt an overwhelming sorrow and loneliness the night before calvary. The only strength his spirit turned to was his Father in heaven.
Then there is also the Father and the grief he felt at the death of his beloved son. Divine grief that no earthly human will ever be able to empathize with. May we find comfort in knowing that our Father knows intimately the pain of loss and grief at the death of a child. It is because he knows the deepest and darkest depths of sorrow and pain, that he also knows how to heal and mend a shattered heart.
If there is a book in the bible that I have turned to since Julian, it would have to be Job. By all accounts this is the oldest book in bible and also the most inspiringly uplifting for anyone who feels oppressed and heart broken. Poor Job suffered material loss, loss of offspring and loss of health. All his friends including his wife were convinced that he was being punished for some secret evil deed he must have done. All three of his closest friends could not reconcile Job's misfortune with their false prosperity gospel. Instead they pointed the finger at Job and condemned him when he most needed their comfort. Yet, Job remained faithful and banked his life on things unseen.
I declare to you, brothers and sisters, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed—in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory." (1 Corinthians 15:50-54)
It is my prayer that we may seek that healing power and choose hope in the face of loss. I encourage anyone standing on the fence to be honest with God and bring your sorrows to him. He will lead you to healing and to his kingdom where death will be no more.