My aunt decided to tell me a story to bring a smile to my face. She said there was once a woman who unfortunately lost all her children in an accident. Her Pastor went to visit her, as a means to comfort her. He opened his bible to the book of Job. He proceeded to tell her that even Job went through something similar.
Her response was simple “Pastor, Job is a bible story. This is real life.”
I am not sure how the story ended, but I remember laughing because I truly felt this woman’s opinion. A few days prior, l had received news that my husband was no longer alive. I just didn’t understand it all, and my faith was at a crossroads because of grief.
I was 29 when my husband passed away, and married for less than ten months. Amid the condolences, was a broken girl who couldn’t see hope and had been knocked down. The shoe l found myself in were too hard to bear.
I had been accustomed to the teachings that God only does good, and he is only good when you are being blessed. Anything contrary to good is from the enemy – RIGHT? Blessings are good things such as: graduating, getting married, buying a house. But what happens when you experience the opposite? What happens when you lose?
Is God still good?
Grief is so painful that it makes us ask these questions. While it may be the loss of a person, it can also be difficult when it’s the loss of a thing. Whether it’s a marriage, job or opportunity. The question is, can grief and faith coexist? And if so, how do we handle it?
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. 2 Corinthians 12:9
The topic of suffering is a normal part of the Christian walk, frequently mentioned in the bible. However, it is often, a topic we rarely talk about and are never equipped for. In some circumstances, when bad comes, we turn away from God and at times even curse him. Isn’t it so easy to quote,
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future?” Jeremiah 29:11
Without really knowing what the meaning is. Sometimes the plans are not what we expect, but in every situation, the bible shows that God does not leave us in the depths of sorrow. Instead, he has already given us the grace to make it through.
The grief of any form is not something to simply ‘get over.’ It is natural and difficult to navigate, and healing is not a singular occurrence but a daily journey. That means we have to be willing to face our suffering and not mask it behind religious rituals and expectations – as they only bring bitterness.
The hard reality is since we live in a fallen world, unexplainable things will happen (what about miracles, you say) they too happen. Life is life, and it is unpredictable. You cannot control what happens to you, but you can control your reaction to what comes your way.
The most significant example l have found in dealing with grief is Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, which can be found in the book of Matthew chapter 26, verses 36-56 (in the bible). Jesus knew what was coming, and when he kept thinking about it he realised he didn’t want to go through with it.
So Jesus asked the father if he could take the cup from him. Ultimately nothing changed, but we received the greatest example in handling our struggles, and that is for us to – bring them to God, not in a long prayer session or tongues. It’s in the whisper of “I don’t understand”, “this is hard Lord”, or “help me” that the Father sits next to us and holds our hand.
The truth is he will not impose or force you to draw closer to him. But grief and faith can only meet each other when we decide to be honest and open with God. It means asking questions, crying, and being broken. Eventually, These things will help us to stand.
“The Lord is near to the broken-hearted and saves the crushed in spirit”- Psalm 34:18
There is a unique nearness that you experience of God when you invite Christ into your suffering.
It still hurts, and you still cry, but intimacy with him strengthens the weakest parts of you. My grief journey has been and continues to be a roller-coaster of waves. But through it, all l can say is I am closer to God than l have ever been.
So what does this all mean?!
What can grief teach us about God?
In life, we will have trials and tribulations, which will vary from person to person, they will be difficult, and you may find it hard to see the light. However, WHEN LIFE HAPPENS, CHOOSE TO BELIEVE THE WORD OF GOD. Although your mind will not be able to reconcile it, CHOOSE to trust in him.
Understand that what you are experiencing is not an indication that you are unloved. On the contrary, God loves you more than anything. Remember, the greatest gift God could ever give you was at the expense of his son dying on the cross.
And even Jesus wanted that cup to pass him by. You are still in his will; you are still blessed, and no one like God knows how much you are hurting.
THIS IS NOT A STOP or the end of the road – YOU ARE PASSING BY.
You know what God can do, and let that be a reminder that helps you remain confident, that you will get through this with God. Today I pray that your faith may not fail you and that God may increase your faith even in your suffering. May you remember that Jesus has already interceded for you; may your mentality remain hopeful in the God you know.
But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers. Luke 22:32
Throughout my grief journey (and even now), I have faced numerous struggles, from praying to having hope. However, I constantly read my bible. At times, it made no sense, but l kept reading on.
The story of Job can help us know that God cares for us and that the situations we face in life do not indicate that he doesn’t care. If anything, we learn that God covers us because, for many, some of the situations we have faced in life could have completely broken us.
In closing, sometimes there are good days, hard days, or more challenging days. Grief is a journey with unpredictable turns. Grief brought me the hardest situation l have faced in life, but my faith kept me, and I’m still here.