This is the third in a series of five posts. If you haven’t read the first two, I encourage you to do so.
I am sharing from the perspective of child loss but the things God is teaching me have much broader application. If you are struggling because you feel like God has let you down, please read on. And please read the posts that follow this one.
God welcomes us to the divine dinner table to talk things out.
Grief forces me to walk Relentlessly Forward even when I long to go back.
I can’t stop the clock or the sun or the days rolling by.
Those of us who are more than a couple months along in this journey (or any journey that involves tragedy and loss) know that it is ABSOLUTELY POSSIBLE to feel worse than in the first few days.
Because as the edges of the fog lift and the reality of an entire lifetime looms before you the questions form and the doubt sinks in:
Where ARE You God?
Why don’t You DO something?
Are You even LISTENING?
So many of us who have been in church for a long time think that Wrestling With God or entertaining doubt is sin-or, at best- unhealthy and proof of a weak faith.
But Scripture is filed from start to finish with God’s people asking God:
“Where are You?”
“What exactly are is Your plan here?”
Truth is, you can’t hide it. God KNOWS it anyway.
Some say faith precludes doubt but I say faith is exactly what you cling to in the margins of doubt-when you have exhausted all the possibilities that exist in the physical, you-can-touch-it world and yet you KNOW there is MORE.
Even in my most doubtful moments I knew God was there. Even if I couldn’t see Him, even if I couldn’t hear Him, even if I couldn’t feel Him-I still knew He was there. Somewhere deep inside me I knew He was still God.
But I was trying to figure out how to re-engage with this God that wasn’t at all who I expected Him to be and didn’t act in ways I thought He should. The relationship had changed because I was not the person I used to be before I buried my son.
HE is the same, but I am most definitely NOT.
God invites us to bring Him our questions and our doubts. He says, “Come let us reason together.” Questions are how you mark the borders of what you know and find the edges of what you don’t.
God is not diminished by my desire to understand and make sense of my world-He doesn’t owe me an explanation-but He gives me freedom to ask the questions.
Wrestling is not UNBELIEF. Wrestling is the hard work of true faith.
Walk through the Hall of Faith in Hebrews 11-Abraham, Sarah, Moses, Gideon, Samuel, David-every. single. one. had questions for God.
God is not threatened by my wondering. His throne is in no danger due to my queries.
It is most often other believers who find the questions unsettling. Doubters can be shifted to the back pew-not because people are mean but because our presence is threatening. For someone yet to face the test of faith, our test can remind them that theirs may be coming.
I don’t want nor expect to have the last word, I believe that belongs to the Creator of the Universe. But I think He will hear my pleas.
In my trouble I called to the Lord, I cried out to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice. My call for help reached his ears.
Psalm 18:6 ICB
God is God of the day and God of the night-when I can’t feel Him, He’s still here.
He knows my frame-He made me.
He knows I’m strugging, I can’t hide it.
When I swallow my doubts instead of speaking them all I do is poison my own heart.
Lament is a biblical response to deep pain.
I have to exhale before I can inhale.
If my heart is full of unreleased anger and bitterness, then it has no room for the Spirit of God to move.
If I want to keep my faith, I’ve got to acknowledge my doubts.
13 thoughts on “Trust After Loss: Acknowledge Doubt and Ask Questions”
This is so helpful. I especially like the line: “Wrestling is not UNBELIEF. Wrestling is the hard work of true faith.”
I thought I was wrestling after the unexpected end of a long marriage. But it was nothing like the wrestling after my son died of an overdose. I know God is there. It’s a deep, deep knowing. But I sure wonder where He is sometimes.
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I’m at a point where all I have left is sadness. You inspire me to work harder. My family walked on me except my youngest son. I keep all your post and hope someday I will feel good again
This is good, and timely. I spent half of last week writing about this too, even quoting Elie Wiesel! I’ve been reading his books and they are challenging me in a good way. I’ve been afraid to fully wrestle with my doubt, fearful it was all a fraud and if I really faced the questions, I’d have to admit that and lose my faith. I didn’t want one more loss. Now, maybe…maybe there is hope.
This is a wonderful post. I went through an intense time of wrestling after my young adult son was diagnosed with bone cancer–even have the hip replacement as a reminder. 🙂 ( there can be humor in life’s struggles) I called it my “Jacob Wrestling Time”. Thankfully, all the previous years in the Word gave me a foundation of where to take those questions and doubts and the Lord was so faithful to walk with me through it. No, I didn’t receive answers to everything, but an overwhelming peace that it was all in His hands. After Kevin passed I again had more questions and so many emotions that even scared me. But I have a God who cares about all of that and can handle anything I lay at his feet. I have connected so much with the process and Psalms of lament. They are in scripture, so are there for us when we wrestle. I struggled mostly with prayer since Kevin’s passing–after so many years of praying, so have been reading on that and gaining a “corrected” perspective on prayer. Those wrestling times, if we process through them with the Lord, can deepen and strengthen our faith, as many times they can help us get our beliefs and expectations more in line with the truths of scripture, and they can draw us closer to the Lord. Thank you for your ministry to the grieving and for pointing us up.
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I’m really having a hard time going to church. After their murder I went all the time. Since dad died in July, a lot of bad feeling came back and I can’t shake them. Church just makes me sadder
This is sooooo GOOD!! Thank you so much ❤️❤️
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