God has experienced the
The death of a loved one is a desperate tragedy, but it can seem worst for those left behind.
There is unconsolable grief, and often anger: anger at the world; at God (even if we never believed in him before); and even at the person who left us to cope.
These are natural, but not necessarily logical, responses.
Who expects logic at a time like this?
However upsetting it may be to lose material possessions, they can be replaced. But the loss of someone we love—perhaps a child, or a spouse—leaves an immense hole, one so huge that we question our ability to survive without that person, and doubt whether we have any purpose or value without them.
It’s natural to want to scream at God: ‘Why did you let this happen! Why me?’ It’s OK to do that—at least for a while. God has broad shoulders; he understands. And he’d prefer you railed at him than that you turned your back. But our response to God at such times has to be a process.
The first step is to accept that your loss wasn’t God’s will. Death is a consequence of all that’s wrong with the world: our sin. That doesn’t mean the particular sins of the person who died, or of those close to them—it’s the corporate sin of all mankind, since we demanded free will and, in effect, told God we didn’t want him in control of our lives, and that we’d take it from here. Well, we can’t have it both ways.
The second thing is to realise that God knows exactly how grief feels, from personal experience. He watched his Son die an agonising death on the cross, and Jesus himself felt the death of Lazarus, a very close friend. And isn’t comfort more meaningful when it comes from those who have also experienced what we’ve experienced?
Thirdly, those broad shoulders are there to be cried on. Turn to God in your grief: cry as much as you like, for as long as you need. There is amazing peace and reassurance there.
Fourthly, you are incredibly precious to God. Never imagine that just because you feel useless or worthless means that you are. God made you for a purpose: simply so that he could love you. Nothing diminishes your importance in his eyes. On the contrary, he longs for you to turn to him, and to be invited to comfort you. What parent does not ache for their hurting child, and pay extra attention to them?
My final point is that, for those who believe in Jesus, death is not the end. "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.” (John, OT). Your believing loved one will rise again one day, and live alongside Jesus; if you believe in Jesus as well, you will therefore see them again. This is why many Christian funerals are a time of thanksgiving and even rejoicing, as well as great sadness.
Pray: Father God, comfort those of us who mourn. Only you can offer peace beyond all understanding—and understanding the death of a loved one is the hardest thing to do. Forgive our anger, and relieve our pain. Reveal your compassion, cocoon us in your love, and give us hope for the future. Amen.
Look up Jesus’ promise of comfort when your burden seems too great to bear
Find bereavement support with Cruse
Visit babyloss.com - information and support online for anyone affected by the death of a baby during pregnancy, at birth, or shortly afterwards. You can post a dedication to your child.
Read the book Where Is God When It Hurts? By Philip Yancey
Read the book Tracing the Rainbow: Working Through Loss and Bereavement by Pablo Martinez & Ali Hull
Read the book Losing a Child: Finding a Path Through the Pain by Elaine Storkey
Read the testimony of Alison, who suffered the death of a baby and a stillbirth
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