Facing grief with faith

Author: Harriet Wright

Facing grief with faith

After my father’s sudden death last year, my biggest challenge over the past 12 months has been learning to say “God is good” again.

On January 19th 2014 my father passed away suddenly from a heart attack.

No words could ever to justice to describing the pain my family and I experienced that day, nor will I try to articulate it here.

However, I would like to share my thoughts on the past year and how grief transformed my faith.

I would love to say that throughout this year I have known God’s faithfulness and presence. Unfortunately, I felt like God was often absent.

“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.” C. S. Lewis.

Grief manifests in different forms and a range of emotions. Perhaps the most difficult is feeling profoundly alone and hopeless.

Unable to feel the presence of God at these difficult times, I often felt like abandoning my faith.

In some ways this felt like the easier option. Easier than wrestling with the dilemma that the God I had loved and trusted allowed my father to die and who now seemed to be silent.

Actions speak louder than words

I have spent much time thinking and reading about the different theories that theologians have used to explain why suffering happens.

Honestly, I have not found a satisfactory answer, nor do I think we will ever find one. Unsurprisingly, theories and explanations do not ease the pain.

“When pain is to be born, a little courage helps more than much knowledge, a little human sympathy more than much courage, and the least tincture of the love of God more than all.”
C.S. Lewis.

People do help. I have never doubted or lacked the loving support of friends and family.

Even in times when I felt alone, I never have been.

In the initial weeks after my dad passed away, I expected to sense the presence and love of God in prayer, worship or during a church service. This rarely happened.

In hindsight, I can see that God was not absent, but instead was working powerfully through the people around me.

Keeping my faith has not been easy this year.

I have been extremely angry with God, prayer has been an uphill battle and I have tried, unsuccessfully, to run away from Him many times.

Faith has been a conscious decision.

I chose to believe and hold on to what I knew was true, despite my changing emotions.

God is good

The biggest challenge this year was learning to say ‘God is good’ even when everything within me disagreed.

God remained faithful and through all of this, He was with me. God, though sometimes silent, never abandoned me.

He has transformed and deepened my faith through the pain. I do not understand all of God’s ways, but I do trust Him.

Of course, I would give up this transformation in a heartbeat to have my Dad back, but that is not the situation I am faced with.

I was recently asked to describe how I handled an emotionally difficult time.

After explaining a little of my journey and how I got through the past year, I found myself saying these words, “I am blessed.” And I meant it.

Though heartbreaking, the last year has also been one of growing friendships, new adventures and unexpected joy.

I would like to say thank you to those incredible people that God chose to work through this year.

Without you, and the way you showed me the love of God, I am not sure I would have made it.

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