Written By JC Tulalian, Philippines
I was by the side of a church member’s father minutes before he took his last breath. Overcome with emotion, I whispered a final prayer for him. It was the first time I’d felt so depressed while praying for someone.
That was in April. When my friend’s father died of cancer, he was only 40.
What could I say to a family who had just lost their beloved father? I knew the right “Christian” things to say: “Don’t worry, God is in control”, or “Be strong, I’m praying for you” . . . but when I saw the sadness on the faces of everyone around me, I struggled to bring myself to say those words. And I had to wonder: why did God allow this to happen to a family who loved and followed Him so faithfully?
At her husband’s funeral, my friend’s mother said in her eulogy, “How can I rejoice in this situation? How can I say, ‘Thank you, Lord’? Why did You allow this to happen? My husband is dead . . . But I will wait for Your answer, I will wait for it.” As I sat there listening to her heartfelt cries to God, I learned two things about responding to trial and loss in life: Our response shows how close we are to God; and pouring out our hearts to Him is a perfectly acceptable response.
Have a Close Relationship with God
One of the most quoted examples about suffering and loss in the Bible is the account of Job. God allowed Satan to inflict suffering and loss on Job to test his faith in difficult times. When that happened, Job didn’t waver in his faith, but continued trusting in God. Though he was in immense grief and pain, his relationship with God remained intact and he trusted in God’s sovereignty through it all.
I believe that Job could do this because way before these trials came, he was walking closely with God. I witnessed a steadfastness in my friend’s mother when her husband died. Although she was overwhelmed with sorrow, she kept her faith in God and continued to wait on Him.
Pour Out Our Hearts to Him
That’s not to say that we cannot express our deepest emotions to God. Besides Job, the Bible records many other godly men and women of faith who went through very challenging times, and did exactly that.
When his enemies were coming after him, David wrote Psalm 42 to lament to God about the troubles He faced. He sought God and expressed his inner fears and emotions to Him. And through the psalm, we see how God reminded him of His love and how David received comfort from that knowledge.
Some of us may have heard of how American lawyer Horatio G. Spafford wrote the well-known hymn, “It is Well With My Soul”, after his four daughters died in a shipwreck. It amazes me that in his despair and grief, he was able to pen a song with these words: “It is well with my soul”. And just like David, Spafford’s honesty before God was the first step in allowing God to heal and comfort him.
As we go through life’s trials and loss, let’s stand firm in our faith, knowing that God is constant and that He is sovereign over all. Let’s learn to pour out our hearts and wait patiently on Him.