Trusting God is easy when life is good and your loved ones are within reach! But how do you trust God when you lose someone you love? How do you have faith in a God who lets your daughter die, your husband leave, your sister suffer, your friend abused?
After losing someone you love, you might still believe in God. You might still believe in Jesus Christ, and even hear the occasional whisper of the Holy Spirit. But trusting God is a whole different story. Loving God is even harder — especially if you feel numb, empty, brokenhearted or even angry.
“I lost my nine year old son to cancer after a difficult eight month journey,” says a She Blossoms reader on Healing Emotional Numbness After Losing Someone You Love. “I prayed everyday and believed God was going to save him. During his treatment I lived in fear, fear of losing my son. The grief and the pain were unbearable but praying kept me hopeful and focused on the journey ahead.”
She didn’t stop trusting God, and yet she lost her young son to cancer. Can she trust God with her future? Will she keep believing in Jesus Christ, keep asking for the Holy Spirit to console and comfort her? I don’t know. Maybe she herself doesn’t know. Right now all she feels is numbness, shock, despair and grief. Maybe she’s asking God how she’ll stay faithful and loving. Or maybe she’s simply praying for strength, courage and help to get through the next hour.
Maybe you’re in a similar situation. You’re in shock after a loss or death. You’re confused, empty, scared and alone. Maybe you’re struggling to trust God with your future — or you’re just struggling to get through this day. Wherever you are and whatever you’re going through, know that God’s eyes are on you. No matter how alone and lost you feel, remember that you won’t always feel this way. Your heart will never be the same, but it will heal. If you keep trusting God through this, your spirit will become softer and gentler, more compassionate and loving. You will experience the peace and joy that surpasses all understanding.
In the meantime, you need something to hold on to.
How Do You Trust God After the Loss of Someone You Love?
If you’ve read a few of my recent blog posts or newsletters, you know I’m working on a She Blossoms Through the Bible project. I’m writing an article for every chapter in every book of Scripture. Right now I’m reading the book of Leviticus; today is chapter 10.
1. Be silent and humble before God
Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihu both died unexpectedly and immediately in Leviticus 10:1-3. “Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihu each took his own firepan, put fire in it, placed incense on it, and presented unauthorized fire before the Lord, which he had not commanded them to do. Then fire came from the Lord and consumed them, and they died before the Lord. Moses said to Aaron, ‘This is what the Lord has spoken: I will demonstrate my holiness to those who are near me, and I will reveal my glory before all the people.’ And Aaron remained silent.” Aaron didn’t just lose someone he loved; his two sons died right before his eyes in the sacred sanctuary, the holy place, the tabernacle — in God’s presence. How could Aaron keep trusting God after losing his boys that way?
Sit in silence in God’s presence. Ask the Holy Spirit to be with you. Look into the face of Jesus Christ. Aaron responded to the loss of his two sons by simply being silent. He must have been shocked, confused, scared. Aaron’s heart must’ve been immediately broken — never to be the same while he was here on earth. Just like yours. Your heart is broken because you lost someone you love. You will never be the same. The world just marches right along, but your life is forever changed. How do you keep trusting God? Start by being silent and humble in His presence. Give yourself time with God, every day, maybe even twice a day. The moment you feel like your grief is never-ending and you can’t reach out to God is the exact moment you must be quiet and still before Him.
2. Grieve your loss in God’s presence
“Then Moses said to Aaron and his sons Eleazar and Ithamar, ‘Do not let your hair hang loose and do not tear your clothes, or else you will die, and the Lord will become angry with the whole community. However, your brothers, the whole house of Israel, may weep over the conflagration the Lord ignited.’” – Leviticus 10:6. Aaron was a priest, a mediator between God and the Israelites. He was not permitted to mourn the loss of his two sons in the tabernacle out of respect for God’s holiness. “This perhaps was the hardest day of Aaron’s life,” writes commentator David Guzak in Leviticus 10: The Conduct of the Priests. “Two of his sons were dead before him, and he could not mourn them. To mourn might have implied – even in the slightest way – that God was wrong in bringing this fire upon Nadab and Abihu. Aaron or Moses could not communicate this.”
God is gazing on you, waiting to embrace you in your grief. Just like the Israelites were encouraged to grieve the death of Aaron’s sons, God welcomes your weeping and wailing. God cares about you — and He cares about the person you loved and lost. You can trust God even after losing someone you love because He, too, lost someone He deeply loved. God knows the grief and pain you feel. He didn’t cause your loss; His heart is as broken as yours. Maybe God’s heart is even more broken because He didn’t create us and the world to experience such pain! But even though our world is not the creation He intended, it is what we have and where we life. And we can choose to trust God even after we lose someone we loved. We can choose to align ourselves with Jesus Christ and lean on the Holy Spirit. We can choose joy no matter what circumstances we face.
3. Act like a beloved child of God
Leviticus 10: 12-13 tells us that Moses didn’t question God after Aaron’s sons died. “Moses spoke to Aaron and his remaining sons, Eleazar and Ithamar: ‘Take the grain offering that is left over from the fire offerings to the Lord, and eat it prepared without yeast beside the altar, because it is especially holy. You must eat it in a holy place because it is your portion and your sons’ from the fire offerings to the Lord, for this is what I was commanded.’” I don’t know what Moses felt or thought, but he didn’t stop trusting God after losing his nephews. Neither did Aaron walk away from his faith or responsibilities as a priest. Maybe that’s why God chose them to be His priests and mediators between Him and the Israelites: they trusted God even when they lost people they loved.
Your unwavering trust in God — even after losing someone you love — is evidence of childlike faith. If you’re prone to bouts of doubt and lack of faith, you’re not alone! It’s not easy for anyone, not even the most devout believers and strong Christians, to constantly trust God, have faith in Jesus Christ, and respond to the Holy Spirit’s nudges. It seems easier to trust God when life is good and easy…but it’s when we suffer through the loss of someone we love that we really dig deep into our faith. It’s when we’re in pain that we learn how amazing, strong, powerful, loving, compassionate and good God is. It’s when we’re most bleak and helpless that we become true children of God, weak and vulnerable, loved and safe.
“Grief is simply love in its most wild and painful form,” writes Megan Devine in It’s OK That You’re Not OK: Meeting Grief and Loss in a Culture That Doesn’t Understand. “It is a natural and sane response to loss.”
Many people who have suffered a loss feel judged, dismissed, and misunderstood by a culture that wants to “solve” grief and for people to just get over losing someone they love. But grief doesn’t need a solution, and there isn’t any to get back to life the way it was. Your relationship with other people, the world, your life and God changes after losing someone you love — and so does how you trust God and others. In this book, Megan teaches readers how to build a life alongside grief rather than trying to overcome it.
How will you keep trusting God after losing someone you love? Sit in silence with God and a good strong cup of coffee first thing every morning. Tell Jesus about the person you loved and lost. Write to the Holy Spirit, expressing everything you can’t or don’t know how to say out loud.
Trust that you can trust God, even now.
With His love,