With all the whys, the anger, the suffocating darkness and confusion after the death of our child, it can be easy to blame God for what has happened. We question how God can call Himself a loving Father or possibly tell us that He is a good God. We don’t understand, and it is normal and okay to bring our questions and emotions to God, no matter how dark they are.
Every step on our life journey is a step of trust. We either trust in others, in ourselves, or in God. Trusting completely in others, or only in ourselves, will eventually fail. But when something horrible happens in our lives (such as the death of our child) we often tell ourselves we can’t trust God unless we know the “why.”
We want answers and we want them now. We want (or feel like we need) God to explain Himself to us, telling us why our children left this earth before we did.
I think the bottom line is that we try to make sense of God with our finite brains and limitations, but that is just plain impossible. We want God to answer to us, which is just as futile as a teenage daughter arguing with her parents, wanting them to answer to her. How can they? How can they explain that they see what their teenager cannot see, and know what their daughter does not know, in a way that makes that teen satisfied with the answer? And how can God possibly explain to us through His lens of eternity the answer to our “why?” in a way that makes some sort of sense, causing us to be okay with what has happened?
My husband, Dave, got a four-year degree in Computer Science. (It was so long ago that he even had to do a computer punch card program for one of his classes. Yikes!). His entire thirty year career was with programming computers, fixing computer programs and crashes, or internationally managing others who were doing it.
There are times I ask Dave (who is my personal geek squad) to do something for me, and he has to tell me it can’t be done. I always want him to explain why, because it seems like he should be able to find a way, since he is a computer programmer by profession. He often sighs, knowing that at some point I will get totally lost and not understand what he is trying to explain to me. (Interpretation: I get really frustrated, because it still doesn’t make any sense to me…)
I am pretty sure the same thing would happen if I were to ask a nuclear scientist a question on how something worked, because it is beyond what my mind would be able to follow or comprehend. God is greater than any computer techy or nuclear scientist, so what makes me think I would be able to follow or comprehend God’s explanation to something I don’t understand?
We often try to bring God down to our level because we want to understand His actions, or why He does what He does. That is like the Israelites. They knew the acts of God, which left them always grumbling and complaining, but Moses knew His ways (Psalm 103:7).
There is a big difference between seeing the actions of God and knowing His ways, which is knowing His heart. When we go beyond the acts of God and press in to knowing His heart, we eventually discover that we can still trust that He is good and He is faithful, even in the deepest and darkest pain we can face on this earth.
I do still occasionally find myself caught in the struggle of wanting to know why. When I find that happening, I sometimes ask God what it is about Him that I don’t understand yet, because when I try to lean on my own understanding, I can get all messed up. Instead, I need to see things from His perspective. What if I don’t get an answer to that right away? Then I have decided to continue to believe that He sees what I cannot see, and knows what I do not know, and I will continue to share my heart with Him, trusting that someday, it will all make sense.
Understanding will not bring us peace. That is why we are told to trust in God and not in our own understanding (Proverbs 3:5). For some reason we often think if we can figure things out, then we can be in control. But the relief felt doesn’t last very long because soon there is something else we are trying to make sense of, that is out of our control.
During deep grief, people either move toward God or away from Him. But when we move away from Him, we are moving away from the One who can help us the most. God wants to walk with us through this valley of death. He wants to give us comfort. He wants to give us strength. He wants to give us hope. These are all things we desperately need. But if we choose to move away from Him, we will continue to desperately need these things. This is a time to get as close to God as you possibly can.
A few weeks ago, I saw someone’s Facebook post that spoke volumes to me about not understanding why. “You do not realize what I am doing, but later you will understand.” This was Jesus speaking, in John 13:7. It struck me so deeply that I had to get out a Bible and read these words for myself!
This world we are in is not permanent, but it is here to prepare us for the place that is. That means everything that happens here is with eternity in mind, but our view of it all is with very limited sight, which can be confusing until the veil is lifted and we are on the other side with our child.
I believe with everything in me that our children (and other loved ones), who are now on the other side of the veil, can also see everything clearly, and understand what we do not. I picture them cheering us on, knowing that when we join them, not only will we understand, but the pain will be completely behind us as the glory of eternity explodes all around us.
Until then, you have a choice. You can choose to continue blaming God (or others) for what has happened, remaining a victim of this horrible trauma for many more years – maybe even the rest of your time here on earth; or you can make a decision to be okay with not understanding why, allowing God to show you the way out of the darkness to be able to live in a way that honors the life of your child.
Our thoughts can be very dark after the death of our child. How we allow ourselves to think, can make the difference between staying in our place of darkness or moving toward a place of hope in our suffocating grief.
If you would like some help in dealing with these dark thoughts, I would like to send you a chapter from my award-winning book When Tragedy Strike: Rebuilding Your Life with Hope and Healing after the Death of Your Child. I promise this is not a way to hound you to purchase the book! However, you will start receiving a Weekly Word of Hope from me, which you can unsubscribe from at any time you no longer find it helpful.
Expressions of Hope is provided by Grieving Parents Sharing Hope (GPS Hope). The founders, Dave and Laura Diehl, travel full time in their Hope Mobile (a 38-foot motor home) to be more easily available for speaking and ministry requests, and bringing intimate weekend retreats to bereaved parents. Laura is also a singer/songwriter and the author of multiple award-winning books.
If you would like more information about bringing Dave and Laura to you for an event, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are interested in bringing GPS Hope to your area for a weekend retreat click here.
- Check out the Grieving Parents Sharing Hope weekly podcast
- Subscribe to Laura’s YouTube channel.
- If you are a bereaved parent, we encourage you to connect with us on our private Facebook page or our public Facebook page.
- If you are not a bereaved parent but want to support those who are, or want to follow us as we give hope to these precious parents, please connect with us at Friends of GPS Hope on Facebook.