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  • Writer's pictureRenikko Bivens

Keeper of My Brother: Crisis of Faith and Trusting God in Times of Grief

The doctors have said that there is nothing else they can do.

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I can't begin to describe the terror, sadness, and helplessness that come when you hear these words. You begin to ponder and ask questions.


Why them?

Why us?

Why now?


It seems that after years of praying for the situation to improve, fasting, and petitioning God—things getting better, then worse, then better, then worse, even worse—the worst. God didn't answer, but why?


It seems almost sacrilegious to some to admit that these types of circumstances can place you in a crisis of faith. People often talk about God healing and restoring you, but it can be challenging to trust God to heal your heart when you prayed for a loved one's healing that didn't happen. It's so easy to dismiss the human feelings of the moment with vain affirmations like “God's ways are not our ways.” Somehow, the expectation is for this to be a comfort in times of distress.


Imagine grieving for a person before it's actually time to mourn. Grieving the things that could have been, the impact they could have made, the children they'll leave behind, siblings holding on to memories, their elderly mother who battles in her mind with how life isn't supposed to be this way; you're not supposed to outlive your child.


This is not how life is supposed to be. Is this really how the story is going to end? This is the heart of grief: a crisis of faith, a desire and longing to still believe, and an attempt to find a glimmer of hope to cling to.


I was reading 2 Samuel 12:16-23.


I know that what David did warranted punishment from God because he sinned so greatly. But it wasn't the reason for the loss of his child that really impacted me, but his response after learning that his child had passed.



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Verse 20: “So David arose from the ground, washed and anointed himself, and changed his clothes; and he went into the house of the Lord and worshiped…”


David's actions stunned the people because they did not understand that while his child was alive and fighting for his life, David wept, fasted, and prayed. After learning about his son's passing, David stood up and started to move on with life. When asked why he grieved so much before and not afterward, David explained that no one knew whether the Lord would be gracious and spare the life of his son. Essentially, the hope persisted in continuing to pray, ask, and fast, hoping that  God might change the situation. So, when his son passed away, and he realized that God did not change the situation, he had to come to terms with the decision of the Lord.


I believe that's where we, as people, struggle. Trying to make sense of the decisions of the Lord when they go against our desires and prayers. Many people leave Christ and abandon Christianity for this very reason. We tend to forget that birth, life, and even death are part of our existence. In our anguish to find answers, we often direct our anger and frustration toward the one entity that holds power over it all—God.


How could a loving God,  the catalyst for joy, allow so much pain? It's all bad until we remember that our departed loved ones are only leaving the body that housed their spirit. If they leave here in Christ, then even in our grief and longing for them physically, we can find peace in knowing their eternal destination.


It's not just for us to be angry and judge God because we feel that we wouldn't have made the same decision if we were in control of things. We don't know what it takes to be God, and it's foolish to judge God's goodness based on what we feel He should have done in a situation where we can only see a small piece of a vast landscape.


Why am I writing this blog today? As a reminder that even in our failure to understand the reasons for the loss,  God is still sovereign and just, even in times of grief.


I am my brother's keeper.



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