Loss of faith due to loss of loved one.

by Jay Henderson
(Newark, Nottinghamshire, United Kingdom)

First of all, I wanted to find a pastor forum to ask this because I thought 'surely, it's something most, if not all pastors come across!?'

I've asked other Christians about this but they didn't seem to understand the complexities of this issue.

I ask because I've come across this a lot, My home town is a mainly atheist area but with very strong traditional christian roots so it is common to see people who have lost their faith at some point and this is a very common reason.

Me and one of the older ladies at work started a friendly conversation about religion. She said that she used to go to church regularly but then her 2 year old son sadly passed away. She went to church the following Sunday and the pastor 'Stood up there and told us all how great and wonderful God was' She couldn't believe a word of it, how could this God take away an innocent child? She became angry and walked away out, she hasn't believed in God since.

I didn't really know what to say, I thought there must be something to say but I couldn't get it off the tip of my tong, I felt a little backed into a corner all of a sudden, I didn't expect such a thing to come up out of no where. I was sad to see such pain, anger and disbelief in God. I understand pain and how it can lead to anger, I used to be angry too only I know now that, no matter the suffering, the seemly needless suffering, that it is passing, that God is not. This life is cruel to the extremes but it is not forever and it is a test.

There are lots of debates on how much God allows sin to exist in this life and what it's cause is but ultimately I don't believe, for the now, that it matters, I trust in God and doing God's work and I believe all evil will be over come through them.

I know all this but how do I tell her, or is trying to tell her the wrong thing to do? Is there a better thing to do?

My main thing, that no one else seemed to understand, is can I explain it in a way that her pastor failed to do? How do I not sound delusional and out of touch? How do I not repeat the very mistake he made in trying to help her but only ended up scaring her away in the first place?

Have any of you dealt with this before.

Comments for Loss of faith due to loss of loved one.

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Walk a Mile in My shoes
by: Anonymous

Jay,
This is a very lengthy reply and I pray that it will in someway give you comfort. My wife and I have been married for forty seven years. We have three children, eleven grandchildren and seven great grandchildren with us. We also have one great grandchild with the Lord. One day we will see her and she can tell us just how grand it was to grow up in the presence of the Lord Jesus.
It would be extremely difficult to understand how a parent feels after the loss of a child unless you have expierenced that type of loss. I have copied an exerpt from a book that I wrote which covers some scripture that would apply to this situation. I hope this will give you some insight. Perhaps the best thing you could do would be to find other Christian parents that have suffered the same type of loss but understand the sovereignty of God and are fully resting in His grace. The peace that comes from faith in Him passes all understanding. I am not a pastor but I have witnessed my pastor's heart break when having to comfort one of our members with this same ordeal. It is not pleasant and it is one aspect of your position that I do not envy. When I asked him about this he told me that it was a special grace that God gives him that allows him to comfort those in need. I will be praying for you.

Anger Management
Chapter Four
(Exerpt: A conversation between two men, one of which has just lost both parents.)

"May I help you?"
"Mister Lehrer? Mister Samuel Lehrer?
"Yes"
"Are you the Layman’s son?"
"Yes. Who are you?"
"I am Peter. I am one of the twelve."
"One of what twelve?"
"Your father did not mention us?"
"No and I am really tired so if you don’t mind I
will say good night."
"No. Please. Wait. I will only take a few minutes
and perhaps I can help you with the turmoil that
must be within you."
He had said the right thing to get my attention. I
would have opened that door to anyone that had
the slightest chance of calming my inner emotions.
So, I opened the door to this stranger to allow him to step inside and in doing so opened my life to change that would never be undone.
"Mister Lehrer, let me introduce myself."
"Sam."
"Alright, Sam. My name is Peter Jacobs and I
wish to express my deepest condolences to you on
the passing of your parents. They were a very
unique couple that loved their Lord with all of
their heart, as I am sure you know. Your father
was a very wise and knowledgeable man who
touched many lives the witness of which was
shown by the many visitors that came to pay their
last respects."
"Yes. That is quite evident but please get to the
point. I am extremely tired and small talk is not
what I need at this moment."
"My apologies, Sam. I wish only to help if I can.
Your father is with the Lord now enjoying a much
deserved rest."
"Mister Jacobs, I am in no mood for a sermon so if
that is all you have to offer we can cut this visit very short. I do not want to hear about a God who has caused me this much grief."
"God did not cause this. Sin did. I do not want to
sound as though I am preaching but the bible is
quite clear on this point."
Rom. 5:12 "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered
into the world, and death by sin; and so death
passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:"
"He may not have been the direct cause of my
grief but He allowed it to happen just as He
allowed Job to lose all that he had and to suffer for no apparent reason other than what seemed to be a whim."
My visitor paused for a moment before
answering. He bowed his head slightly and seemed
to be considering his response or perhaps he was
praying. Whether his resulting comments were an
answer to prayer or just his scriptural insight, what he said set in motion the direction for my life.
"May I sit?"
"Alright."...

"Sam, the first verse in Genesis reads, "1In the
beginning God created the heaven and the
earth." God completed all of creation in six days
and on the seventh day He rested which means that
anything that was going to be created was
finished. The earth and all of the plant and animal life it contained was created. All of the planets of our solar system and all of the galaxies and stars of the entire universe were created. Man and woman were created and God himself said in the last verse of Genesis chapter one, "31 And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day." God’s own assessment of creation was, "…it was very good." The first man and woman, Adam and Eve, were created perfect and without sin. They were given a perfect environment to live in and God Himself walked with them as the scriptures tell us "…in the cool of the day." He also created man with freewill. Satan entered the garden of Eden which was their home and tempted Eve with visions of being like gods. Adam and Eve had a choice to make. They could believe God and follow His command or they could believe Satan and follow his suggestion. They chose the latter and sin entered into the world and with sin, death. Man’s relationship with God changed in that moment. Sinful man could no longer be in the presence of a Holy God. In order for man’s fellowship to be restored with God sin had to be paid for and only a perfect sacrifice could accomplish that. God provided that perfect
sacrifice in His only Son, Jesus Christ. John tells us, 3:16" For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved." Does that sound like a God that we should be angry with? As for Job, God loved Job. He placed a hedge of protection about Job. Job prospered in goods and family because he worshiped and feared and loved God. But Job knew and acknowledged without reservation one thing that is most important. God is sovereign. We are His creation. All that we are and all that we have belongs to Him and He wants only the best for His children. He has supreme control but notice one thing that Adam, Eve, and Job had in common. Satan instigated each situation. Paul tells us in Ephesians, "6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places."
Satan is, "Eph 2:2 …prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:" Do you still think your anger
should be directed at God, Sam?"

Faith during loss
by: Anonymous

I am a 33 year old minister and have been married to my wife for 5 years. The first 3 years of our marriage we have seen more than most couples would in 30 years. My wife went full term and had to deliver a little girl who already was in heaven. That same week we lost my wife's aunt. Lost jobs and a home over it. Second time around, same thing, full term to a beautiful little boy who was in heaven. The very next day, my grandfather passed, who was closer to me than my father. Sounds crazy, but I dont think anybody could make this stuff up if they tried. Yes, everyday is appointed for us. Yes, God is sovereign, ruler and King, but I do not think He took my children... He received them.
Jesus said It is the thief who comes to kill, steal and destroy, but I come to give life and life abundantly. God is the author of life not death. His will is for us to heal the sick and raise the dead... why would He take them out?


some thoughts
by: Anonymous

Hi Jay

How very tragic. Obviously the most important thing to do is to pray for this lady and love her. People grieving don't mostly need answers, they need love and compassion.

There are general answers to suffering, for example, this being a sinful, fallen and broken world and that God in His wisdom allows history to continue so that a full number of people are saved. But, its pain and suffering all the way. And that is what is promised in this life for His people. But there can be comfort and even joy, in God.

I have been through tragedy, that to me is unspeakable. But faith means trust that God knows what He is doing, and that His plan is bigger than we can comprehend. Job had no idea what was going on while he suffered. But God really does care. He is moved by our suffering, and has fully entered into it in Christ, through the cross. Trust means knowing that He is wiser and more loving than we are, and will one day wipe away every tear from our eyes.

In Job's suffering what was at stake was the glory of God. Would Job love and serve God in the face of extreme suffering? We are faced with the same. There are no trite answers that make it all better. There is only the dual cry from the cross "Why have you forsaken me" - "Into your hands I commit my spirit".

response
by: Jay Henderson

If anyone could talk about this I would be greatly thankful for your input.

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