The Experience Summer 2019_WEB

Dealing with the Heartache of Loss


This morning’s news was filled with dis- turbing images of an overnight tornado resulting in a horrific loss of life and prop- erty. In the next moment the news com- mentator shared about another shocking terrorist attack. While pondering these dreadful losses, my thoughts were inter- rupted by a phone call from one of our church members whose husband had just died. From the world scene, to the national scene and then within my own community, loss was prevalent. The loss of the world and national scene seemed distant. The new widow’s loss brought home the reality of pain and suffering right where I live life every day. Throughout life we all will experience loss. Some of our losses are traumatic, such as the death of a loved one. Some deal with the heartache of a shattered marriage, perhaps the loss of productive employ- ment, and even misinterpreted occurrences that break off friendships. Sometimes we can experience a tempo- ral loss such as, “Where did I put my car keys?”. But, usually, within a brief period of time, we find lost keys, and life unconcern- edly moves on. Then there are those tumul- tuous times of permanent loss. As we try to understand or comprehend the sudden death of our loved one, we find ourselves on an emotional roller coaster of distress. In the immediacy of this news, nothing makes sense. We are sure the traumatic informa- tion shared is wrong, and we find ourselves asking the question, “Why?”. As our minds and thoughts reel over our loss, everything we had planned for the next few hours and days comes to an abrupt halt. Traumatic events create distressing life changes. How, in the midst of our gut-wrench- ing loss, do we even begin to find some glimmer of hope and courage? Throughout the Bible we find numerous individuals who went through heart-breaking experiences

including Bathsheba and the death of her son (2 Samuel 12:18), the stoning of Stephen (Acts 7:60), the untimely death of Dorcas (Acts 9:39), and the first person murdered, Abel (Genesis 4:8). How do we begin to relate to Job who experienced the horrendous news of the death of his ten children and the loss of all his earthly pos- sessions (Job 1:13-22)? Like Job, we may have those in our lives who further deepen our pain by suggesting we have not lived for the Lord, or even worse, the words, “curse God and die” (Job 2:9). When traumatic loss floods our soul, we ask the age-old question, “Why God?”. Secondary to questioning God, we begin the circle of questions such as “What if?” and “If only”. In the aftermath of tragedy, we want to blame someone or something... perhaps a medical team, the DUI driver, the one who committed the crime, faulty roadways or weather-related incidences. Unfortunately, we can even try to blame ourselves. We allow ourselves to emotion- ally travel in circles, asking never-ending questions without any earthly answers. We might ask, “What if my loved one left fifteen minutes earlier?”, “What if I sought better medical advice?” or “If only they were not there at that precise time”. The questions revolve in a circle that we seemingly cannot escape. A friend of ours, Nancy Self of Grief Care Fellowship, shares her testimony of the traumatic death of two husbands. Her first husband died as a result of another driver and her second husband through suicide. In her capacity as Director of Women’s Ministries of Grief Care Fellowship and a conference speaker, she shares three crucial spiritual truths: “You will make it; you will survive, and there is hope beyond today!” The Lord allowed the deaths. We do not know the ultimate answer to “Why?”. Nancy shares her powerful testi- mony of how the Lord brought her through


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