We all look for answers when tragedy invades our world. We usually cry out to God asking why.
C.S. Lewis in "A
Grief Observed" wrote:
"Meanwhile, where is God? This is one of the most disquieting symptoms. When you
are happy, so happy that you have no sense of needing Him, if you turn to Him
then with praise, you will be welcomed with open arms. But go to Him when your
need is desperate, when all other help is vain and what do you find? A door
slammed in your face, and a sound of bolting and double bolting on the inside.
After that, silence. You may as well turn away."
I have found that to be true in my own times of grief. However, I have also
noticed after each tragedy in my life, God has become closer than ever to me.
What a mystery! How can this be? I'm not sure if I can answer that to everyone's
satisfaction. I do know God wants us to trust Him in our fears and pain, even
when we do not "feel" like it. Jesus (who was fully man and fully God)
questioned His Father when his pain was more than He could bear.
"Why has thou forsaken me?" (Matthew 27:46). We can say with assurance Jesus
knows the fear of being abandoned and He understands when we question Him, amen?
"During the three hours Jesus was on the cross and in which the darkness
continued, Jesus was in agony, wrestling with the powers of darkness, and
suffering his Father's displeasure against the sin of man, for which he was now
making his soul an offering. Never were there three such hours since the day God
created man upon the earth, never such a dark and awful scene; it was the
turning point of that great affair, man's redemption and salvation. Jesus
uttered a complaint from Psalm 22:1. Hereby he teaches of what use the word of
God is to direct us in prayer, and recommends the use of Scripture expressions
in prayer. The believer may have tasted some drops of bitterness, but he can
only form a very feeble idea of the greatness of Christ's sufferings. Yet, hence
he learns something of the Savior's love to sinners; hence he gets deeper
conviction of the vileness and evil of sin, and of what he owes to Christ, who
delivers him from the wrath to come." ~ from the Matthew Henry (1662 - 1714)
We can question God - it's all right to question Him. Just remember, our
questioning should be with reverence and respect (read how Job questioned God).
If, where you are right now is in the questioning period, then I pray God will
use some of my own observations and conclusions to encourage you to bear your
sorrow with discernment.
When my mother was murdered I started looking for answers and I agonized for
years before I found peace of mind. My quest for understanding was a difficult
journey and so is the journey of most who lose a loved one in a tragic way. Each
person is unique and individualistic with their own personality, life
experiences, and beliefs. Because of this, your pain and confusion will not be
the same as mine. Nor can anyone else truthfully lay claim to know exactly what
you are going through. No one else on the face of the earth knows specifically
what you are experiencing because not one of us are exactly alike.
However, let me quickly add, the reasons why we suffer remains the same and it
does help to know someone else who has experienced similar pain. It gives us a
sense of, 'not being so alone in our grief'...
It's quite possible your journey for understanding about grief and pain may not
end here. But rest assured my answers are based upon years of pain, depression,
fears, anger and most importantly my understanding of God's wonderful love
affair with us. That being said, I can now try to reach you where you are - with
what I pray is a bit of hope in this old world of sorrow and pain.
First of all, we somehow get to thinking life should be fair and we deserve to
live a nice, quiet life full of peace and comfort. Where did we get that idea?
The toughest thing in this world to accept is the fact that bad things happen to
us, and as long as we live bad things will continue to happen to us. Once we
fully understand that concept we can accept other truths about adversity in our
Where is God when bad things happen? Someone once said He is in the same place
He was when His only son was being crucified. I believe that, but let me add one
more thing; when we suffer, God is as close to us as a whispered prayer.
“For every drop of crimson blood
Thus shed to make me live,
O wherefore, wherefore have not I
A thousand lives to give?”
"Why should I despair of loving Jesus with a love as strong as death? He
deserves it: I desire it. The martyrs felt such love, and they were but flesh
and blood, then why not I? They mourned their weakness, and yet out of weakness
were made strong. Grace gave them all their unflinching constancy-there is the
same grace for me. Jesus, lover of my soul, shed abroad such love, even thy love
in my heart, this evening." ~ by Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-92)
You may say you don't feel like God hears your prayers. Well, that brings me to
another concept we have about God hearing and helping us. So often we rely on
our feelings for our spiritual well being. We don't feel like God is near so He
must not be. Where do we get that idea? If we based our decisions on our
feelings for everything in our life we would become an emotional cripple. Think
about it: I don't feel like going to work today. I don't feel like fixing dinner
for my family. I don't feel like doing laundry. I don't feel like working out
Depend on your feelings?
No, I think not.
Then why do we trust our feelings when it comes to God? Look to His word and
trust it - nothing more; nothing less.
It goes without saying that God wants us to freely choose to love Him, even when
our choosing to love Him involves great suffering and fear. It's easy to love
Him when life is good... amen?
But when hope is gone and life is nothing but pain and despair... If then, we
choose to love Him, we are the most pleasing to God and the most perplexing to
Satan and to this world.
Look at the book of Job.
Can we say, in our deepest darkest pain what Job said?
"Even though He slay me, yet will I trust Him" (Job 13:15).
Now, the question of "why my loved one" begs to be answered.
I stood at my mother's graveside and wondered why God allowed her to be
murdered. She was a good woman. She was a great mother. She was a faithful
friend. However, as far as I know, she was not a Christian and that was my
greatest fear and sorrow. How could God allow her to be killed before she became
a Christian? I would never see her again! I 'felt' sure she would not be in
heaven with me.
I thought about how much I loved her and if God loved her only half as much as I
did, then how could He bear to see her die without knowing Him? I have
discovered there are questions we ask that will never be answered to our
satisfaction this side of heaven.
Before God made the world He knew everything that was going to happen. He also
knew the only way for man's redemption lay in God becoming a man and dying a
horrible death on the cross. Now, I don't know about you, but I don't think I
would have chosen to do that. I do believe I would chose to die for my
children... but certainly not for my enemies!
So think about it, before we became Christians we were enemies of God - and yet,
He still loved us.
God gives every man the chance to accept His plan of salvation. The choice to
believe is man's responsibility but the choice can not come without the work of
God's Holy Spirit. His Holy Spirit draws us to Himself, and then the choice is
ours. God will even give us the strength and the courage to accept his
salvation. However, each individual must choose for himself to believe,
or to turn away from God.
If God forced His love upon us, we would be nothing more than robots, amen? The
fact is God did all he could to see my mother would be in heaven with me. He
died a lonely, horrific death on the cross just for her. Jesus would have died
for her even if she had been the only person to ever accept His plan of
salvation. If my mother didn't choose Christ as her Savior it was because she
didn't want to. Now, that's a hard thing to say and even harder to accept, but
it's the truth.
What about innocence? Why is it that most whom we believe deserve to die live a
long and seemingly uneventful life? Why is it that those who are godly and love
others die too soon and often in a tragic way?
First of all, we need to fully realize we live in a sinful world. Every time we
sin we are choosing to live in a sinful world. Sin causes death and destruction.
Sin hurts the innocent and causes man to rebel against God in ways that are sick
and depraved. God wanted us to have a world full of hope and free from sin and
death but man chose otherwise and every time we sin we are choosing otherwise.
God gave us a free will and with that comes the choice to do evil. If you decide
to kill me, God will not take away your freedom of choice. My two brothers were
murdered because someone shot them to death. My youngest brother, Skip, was more
like my own son because he came to live with my husband and I after our mother
was killed. My other brother, Morris, was just a year older than me. He was a
happy, generous individual with a heart for those who are downtrodden.
Why did they have to die? The important thing about the answer to that question
is we can not see the whole picture. We don't know the future. God does and will
take all the bad things and turn them around for our good and His glory (if we
allow Him to).
Corrrie ten Boom (author of The Hiding Place) said, "However deep the pit, God's
love is deeper still."
I have found that to be true.
The emphasis on our sorrow should be on looking to the future for what God can
make of apparent tragedy. I know this attitude isn't an easy one to maintain but
it's as vital to your spiritual health as your beating heart is to your body's
Because of the experience of losing my mother, I have become a strong and
fearless proclaimer of God's grace. I do not fear ridicule, persecution, nor
even loss of family for my witness. I do not fear it because I never want others
to have to stand over a grave and wonder where their loved one will spend
eternity. I would never have become a crusader for Christ had it not been for my
mother's murder. More than likely, the best I would have been was a
non-committed church attendee.
Now, my persuasion for you to trust God when all seems black and lonely is full
of love and compassion for where you are. I do understand the despair and
searing pain. God does also, believe this even though you can not feel it. God
will turn around your tragedy for good. He did for me and for millions of others
who have suffered more than I can ever imagine. Trusting God in spite of our
feelings is the key to peace of mind. Being able to trust God gives you the
peace that passes understanding that God talks about in His Word (Philippians
4:7). I not only believe this, I have proved it to be true over and over.
Thank you, Father God, for loving me even when I am loveless. Thank you for
forgiving me when I deserve it not. Thank you for allowing me the pure joy of
knowing your love when I don't love others as I should. Thank you for my life
and for the abundant blessing of friends, family, and for those dearest to my
heart. I don't deserve anything from you and yet you love me, even me.