Job said he wanted to die (job 3); he wished he never was born (job 7: 6-9,13-16) and that he despised his life. CS Lewis said: “ ..where is God? ….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. ..Why is He… so very absent in time of trouble?
“… He reminded me the same thing happened to Christ: “Why hast thou forsaken me?” [But] Does that make it easier to understand?
“Not that I am… in much danger of ceasing to believe in God. The real danger is of coming to believe such dreadful things about Him. The conclusion I dread is not “So there’s no God after all,” but “So this is what God’s really like. Deceive yourself no longer.” (Chapter 1 in A Grief Observed)
Jesus said:”My god, why have you forsaken me?”
The loss of a child creates a spiritual crossroads. Those who have believed are asking whether there is a God. And if so, what kind of God can He be. Unbelievers are asking questions too.
I knew a mother who did not believe in life after death. But she loved hearing me talk about the Life Jesus has prepared for us in His house beyond the grave. She wanted to believe. After the death of her daughter, she felt drawn to that hope. She saw various little evidences of that life that she took to be messages from her daughter. But, I’m sorry to report, she never took Jesus into her life which is how we find our way to that real hope of the home He is preparing for His children.
For those of us who believe what the Scriptures say - that God is good, wise and powerful - may have a very hard time bringing those truths into some correlation to other truths in our lives. It may seem impossible that those things are true and also that your loved child has died.
Job’s process was to ask his questions – loud and long. He kept asking. And, I note, God listened and did not strike him with lightening! Asking your genuine questions to the Father is not going to make you unacceptable to Him. On the other hand, if you have questions but don’t put them before the Father, if you start talking behind His back, so to speak, or complaining to others about Him, that may not be so good for you. Job rants on for chapters. His so-called friends give him all sorts of bad interpretations of what God does and why. Job somehow is not encouraged by their well intentioned but bad theology! Eventually, and I believe it is perfect timing, God steps up and has finished listening. Now He begins teaching. He shares His own heart in this matter of Job’s life. For once, Job listens. Then Job is humbled. Job realizes the proper arrangement between him and the Father. And finally, Job says, “My ears had heard of you, but now my eyes have seen you” (Job 42:5). Wow, Job gets to know God, the Father, much better and more intimately than before.
Jesus’ “process” was to come to the point where He said, “not my will but thine.” There is trust! Jesus decided that though He asked to be relieved of the cross, He accepted the Father’s decision to have Him go through with it all the way to death. He yielded to the Father’s choice and decision, no matter what.
Grief is a spiritual crossroads for each of us. Jesus humbled Himself and accepted His Father’s will for him. Job expressed his genuine questions and came much closer to God. C.S. Lewis also continued to draw near His heavenly Father. My friend did not. What about you? Are you leaning into Him, questions and all? Or are you turning away from Him because He seems far away. That locked door Lewis pictured, that distance you picture, are illusions. He IS with you, listening and waiting for the right time to show Himself to you in love and comfort. Keep asking. Keep knocking. The Lord in near. He has promised.