Is God Still Good in the Grief?
Last September I received a call that turned my family upside down. It was a Sunday afternoon and my husband, Nathan, and I were about to lay down to take a much needed afternoon nap when my mom called. I answered to her sobbing and in between sobs she told me her brother had committed suicide. As I hung up I told Nathan “Uncle Kurt is dead” and the words hung in the air… They resonated in my ears as if they were trying to make me understand. When I finally did I didn’t know what to do but to begin praying. So Nathan and I held hands and I began to pray for my family, our hearts, our hurt, our anger, and our view on God. As I prayed, the phrase “God I know you are still good” kept flowing out like a river. I had to keep repeating it. I knew He was still good, but my heart at that moment felt that He was everything but good.
In this season I had to face my views of God’s character head on. I knew what I had been told in bible college. I knew what I had read in the Word. I knew what I myself had taught in bible studies, but in this season I had learn if it was what I truly believed. Here are a few things that helped me to get through this grieving process and allow my heart to stay soft so the Lord could show me His true character.
The first thing that Nathan and I did when we got the news was pray. We didn’t just pray for our hearts, but for everyone who would be effected by this. We prayed that Holy Spirit would use us to bring comfort and healing. My uncle was greatly loved so we knew the pain of his death was be even greater. The week after he passed I prayed fervently and often. I was alone a lot that week due to my work schedule and there were several times I just sat at my desk and was raw with God. I asked Him the hard questions. I told him exactly how I felt, no sugar coating it. I yelled at him *gasp* because I was angry and hurt. (Aren’t you glad we can be real with God and He can handle it?) But the key to my heart staying soft was letting it all out and holding nothing in.
2. Sitting and Listening
I’ve found that when we are in a time of need we pray and pray and pray, but forget to listen. It’s many times in these moments of waiting on the Lord that He chooses to reveal more of His true character with us. I would bawl until my eyes were red and puffy, and then I’d sit, wait and listen to what the Father had to say. One of my favorite things He reminded me was that His character doesn’t change even if our circumstances do. If He was good the day or even the moments before we found out my uncle was dead then He is still good.
As soon as Nathan and I found out the news about my uncle we headed to my Aunt’s house to be with our family. On the way we worshipped. In that moment I needed to be reminded of God’s character. I needed to be reminded He is worthy of worship in the amazing seasons, but He is also worthy of worship in the hardest seasons. No matter what, He is worthy. As we were worshipping I was reminded of Job. He had just been told everyone he loved and every thing he had of value was dead and gone. “At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship.” (Job 1:20) The first thing Job did in his grief was worship God. He didn’t crawl into bed and not come out for days. He didn’t drown out his pain with alcohol. He didn’t get angry at God, instead he chose to praise God. You see, when God is your solid foundation you don’t need to turn to anything else when grief comes. You know you can come to Him and you are safe.
4. Knowing It Is Okay To Not Be Okay
I have always been the person who has had it all together. I’ve always thought I couldn’t not be okay because then there must be something wrong with me and heaven forbid that!! (still working on not being a perfectionist…) But in this season of grief I realized it is okay to not be okay. It’s actually healthy because if I was okay after this event then reality is I would be shoving down the pain. I learned in this season that I must allow myself to not be okay. To be raw and real and not put up a front so that God could do a work in my heart. It was okay to be upset. It was okay to be angry. It was okay to be hurt as long as I didn’t stay there. The key was after I would be raw and real with God I would always sit and let Him speak truth to my heart, so those feelings didn’t grow into bitterness and harden my heart.
5. My History with God
Since I got saved seven years ago I had loved God hard and hadn’t looked back, but I also hadn’t had a traumatic event to stop me dead in my tracks. When I was in this season I realized that the time I had put in with God before my uncle passed was all to lay the foundation of God for me in this season. I had history with Him. I knew Him to be faithful. I knew Him to be good. I knew Him to be my comforter. I knew Him to be my peace. I knew Him to be my protector. I knew His character. I had seven years of getting to know who He truly was, so that in this season I could rest on these truths. And when the enemy would come in speaking lies I was able to remind myself of my history with God and who He had shown me to be time and time again. I was able to not allow one event to take away all the years of history I had with the Lord.
In this season I realized that all my hours of prayer, reading the Word and listening to God’s voice in those seven years laid my solid foundation to stand on when my world turned upside down. So to answer your question, I’m standing on the other side of grief and I’m saying "Yes, He is still good in the grief. HE IS STILL SO, SO, SO GOOD!"