Good God; Good Grief! Where is God in Grief? : Beyond the BEAR

Good God; Good Grief! Where is God in Grief?

by Dola Spering on 01/23/20

What would God say to the mother who has lost her baby, as she grieves by the tiny casket before they lower it into the ground? What would he whisper in her ear on those nights when the pain just won’t let up and feels like a dagger in her heart? Or in the car on the way home from work when she is screaming at Him, pounding on the steering wheel with tears streaming down her face? What would He say to the father who is no longer even sure God exists because how could a good God allow their baby to die? What does He say to the family who has gone numb, when only a few months before there was so much excitement and hope and joy? 


What does God say to anyone who is broken, devastated and grieving? He says “I am here. You are not alone. This is not the end.” 


Psalm 34:18 says “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and rescues the crushed in spirit.” When we are broken and hurting and our hearts are shattered into a million pieces, God is close. He is not watching from a distance, waiting for us to get our act together and dry our tears. In fact, He is close enough to collect all our tears Himself. Psalm 56:8 says “You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.” 


When God is close, He reminds us that He knows what we are going through and we do not have to walk through it alone. Jesus, who was fully God and fully man, grieved the loss of His friend, Lazarus. He wept openly, just minutes before raising Lazarus from the dead! (John 11:17-44) Surely, if the God of the universe can grieve the loss of His friend who He knows will be with Him again shortly, then He understands when we grieve the loss of our children; some of whom we never even got to see. 


“But,” you may say, “Jesus never lost a child. How can He actually know the pain I am suffering?” No, Jesus never had any children, but God the Father did. We hear Jesus cry out on the cross “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46) We don’t hear the Father’s answer, but we do see some evidence of His broken heart. We see darkness across the land and an earthquake that split rocks apart and terrified the Roman guards. (Matthew 27:51-54) I don’t claim to know all the symbolism of the earthquake or the darkness that day, but I do know that is how I would describe what was going on inside of my heart on the days my sons died, and the weeks and months after. My sons, one of which I didn’t know his name or the color of his eyes when he died. But God the Father? He had been in unity with Jesus for Eternity before the cross. How it must have broken His heart to abandon Him on the cross, and no, not just to abandon, but to pour out all His wrath and judgement on His one and only Son. 


Why? Why would God the Father do that? Why would He willingly break His own heart in two, and quite frankly, almost break the whole Earth in two in the process? 


You see, dear reader, there was something else that was broken, no! torn in two that day: the curtain that separated man from the presence of the living God. It was torn in two, from top to bottom (Mark 15:38) - and that, dear reader, I know the symbolism of! That represents the fact that we are no longer separated from the Father. Through Christ Jesus the Son we can have a relationship with God the Father here and now. 


However, if that was the end of the story, I wouldn’t even be writing this. You see, God also whispers to our broken hearts that this is not the end. Jesus’ death was not the end. Jesus did not stay dead. And because of that fact, death is not the end. “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” (1 Corinthians 15:54-55) Because Jesus conquered the grave, when we put our faith in Him, we know the grave can no longer defeat us. If we put our trust in Him, we are promised an eternity with God the Father in Heaven. 


In Heaven, God is not only close enough to collect our tears in a bottle, He literally wipes them away! “Look, God’s home is now among His people! He will live with them, and they will be His people. God Himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” (Revelation 21:3-4)


So death will not be the end for me, and I know death was not the end for my sons. I know this because I trust the character of my God. Jesus says, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.” (Luke 18:15-16) I can also look to the story of King David, who lost his newborn son. After the boy’s death, David says, “Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he will not return to me.” (2 Samuel 12:23b) David trusted that he would see his son again and I believe we can know that we will see our children again one day as well. And we will not just see our children “one day.” Oh no, dear reader, if we have our faith in Christ, we will have Eternity with our children. And these few decades here on Earth will seem like nothing compared to that. “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” (Romans 8:18)


“Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.” (1 Thessalonians? ?4:13-14) ?


So what does God say to those who have lost a child? He says that He is near, He understands and that He is greater than even death. That is why, while I grieve, I do not grieve like those who have no hope; that same hope is available to everyone. 


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