Dealing with grief is perhaps one of the hardest things that we, as humans, must do. Grief may be rooted in a death or illness, or it may be rooted in a loss, such as the loss of support, the loss of a spouse through divorce, the loss of a job, or even the feelings of abandonment that parents often go through as they realize they must allow their children to grow up. The focus of the upcoming 8 devotionals, that will be appearing in the next 8 Saturday editions of The Nugget, will be on how to deal with the grief. The first two devotionals focused on the grieving cycle, and these last eight will teach us important lessons about grief from specific and personal experiences of Nugget Writers. Our prayer is that you will be blessed by this series, and that somehow, whatever it is you are grieving, the lessons presented here will help you to get through.
In Dealing with Grief Part 4, we learned that when tragedy strikes, all you need is God! He’s the only one who can get you through! These types of situations can drive us closer to Him, and when they do, our lives are blessed beyond compare. And sharing our pain with others is not only one way to help ease their pain, but it also helps to ease ours! Today’s devotional will take us through the one of my own personal experience and how God helped me through …
Dealing with … SUICIDE!
My younger brother and I were never very close as kids or as young adults. We had little in common, and he made fun of my faith in God. That all changed after my dad died. He began asking questions and one day he emailed wanting to know more about my God. His life changed 100% at this time, and though all of the experiences that would happen over the next few years are too many to tell, it wasn’t long before his unwavering faith began to teach me a lesson or two.
But then it all began to change. He began experiencing personal problems, and though he initially stood strong, his faith eventually began to waver. He started asking questions, the same sort of questions that we all ask in times of trouble: Why is God allowing this to happen to me? How could a loving God allow this to happen?
It wasn’t long after this that he turned his back on God completely. Though my husband and I tried to reach out to him, he refused to speak to us, refused our emails, and refused our phone calls. We were completely out of touch with him for the next 18 months.
I remember driving down the road one day, crying out to God in prayer for my brother, when I was impressed to turn on the CD player. The song that filled the car was one about the cross of Jesus. It highlighted how even Jesus’ closest friends didn’t understand His death, and how lost they felt during the time Jesus was in the grave. But in the end, what a glorious outcome! Through this song, God spoke to me about my brother, assuring me that though I didn’t understand what was going on, in the end, it would be beautiful.
I took great comfort in the words.
It wasn’t long after that that I got the call from my sister-in-law. My brother had taken his life.
The next two days passed in a blur. There were plane tickets to buy, arrangements to be made, suitcases to pack, but through it all, there was no time to grieve, no time to think.
I was on the plane, flying to California with my mother and husband when it began to hit home that my brother had taken his life after turning his back on God. On the one hand, I had always believed that someone who takes his own life will not be in Heaven. Especially someone who had turned their back on God. But on the other hand, God is a God of love, and He doesn’t want any of His children to be lost. God would have done everything in His power to bring my brother back to Him, and having been out of touch for 18 months, I knew nothing about the spiritual state of his heart. When my dad had passed away 5 years earlier, I had known that he would spend eternity with Jesus and had taken great comfort in this fact. But would my brother spend eternity with Jesus?
I took it to God in prayer: “Lord, is my brother in Heaven?”
But there was no answer forthcoming, and the question haunted me for the next two days. I couldn’t sleep, I had no appetite, and all I could think about was my brother’s final destination.
When God did finally give me the answer, it was not at all what I had expected …
I was sitting in a fast food restaurant in Southern California, waiting for my husband to arrive with the food that I had no appetite to eat. I again began to pray, pleading with God: “Please, just give me some assurance that my brother is in Heaven!”
God sometimes speaks in mysterious, covert ways, but not that day. That day He spoke loud and clear, so clear that I had to look around to see if anyone else had heard His voice: “That, My child, is NOT your business to know!”
“What?” Cried out my thoughts. “Of course it’s my business to know!”
“No,” was the clear response. “It doesn’t change anything about your relationship with Me. I want you to trust Me enough to not need to know!”
“I …” But I couldn’t continue because I understood loud and clear: God wanted me to quit carrying this burden. He wanted me to give it to Him! And as soon as the realization washed over me, I knew He was right! “Okay,” I whispered. “I release my brother’s location for eternity into Your hands!”
Immediately a wave of comfort washed over me, filling every crevice, cleansing me all the way through to my innermost thoughts and feelings.
And that comfort from God has remained with me ever since.
But the story doesn’t end here. About three years later, as I was driving late at night to pick up my son from youth, my mind began to review the events that had happened around the time of my brother’s death, and I remembered the song God had used to comfort me. Just then, that same came on the radio. And then God spoke to me through this song. He reminded me of how He had assured me three years earlier that I wouldn’t understand what was going on, but in the end, the outcome would be beautiful. “Does this mean …?” I whispered. Then a sense of peace like I have never known washed over me, and I knew beyond a doubt: My brother was … with Jesus!
Friends, suicide is an extreme kind of death to have to deal with. But remember: Whatever the nature of the grief you are going through, when you trust God with your deepest worries, no matter what their source, you open the door to His comfort. You allow Him to carry you through!
In His love,
Friends, please remember: whatever the nature of the grief you are going through, you can trust God with your deepest worries, no matter what their source. And when you do, you open the door to His comfort. Please join us next Saturday, for Dealing with Grief, Part 6: Lightening Strikes.
* Lyn Chaffart, Mother of two teens, Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, www.scripturalnuggets.org , with Answers2Prayer Ministries, www.Answers2Prayer.org .
(To access the entire “Dealing With Grief” mini-series, please click here.)