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Never Let Grief and Loss Derail Your Relationship with God: How to Get Back on the Faith Track

Teresa Neumann-Opinion : Aug 28, 2019  Breaking Christian News

God gave us the story of Job as a warning and roadmap to healing because He knew loss and grief are the most powerful emotions satan can use to destroy our faith. Don't let it derail your life! In this 3rd, and final, installment on how grief can induce a crisis of faith, Teresa Neumann offers 9 practical ways you can help yourself and others get back on track with God.

When we hear about someone walking away from God, we shouldn't be surprised. It's nothing new. Jonah tried to do it. Peter denied Jesus for a brief time. Thomas doubted. Moses second-guessed Yahweh. David despaired. Job accused God of being unfair. (Image: Unsplash-Artem Kovalev)

Job!

Satan knows that one of the biggest stumbling blocks to loving God can be loss and the grief that follows. No doubt, it's why God included an entire Book in the Bible dedicated to it, using the losses Job endured and overcame as an example and a warning to us.

The scary testing's of faith: Count your blessings!

Everything I shared in my last two posts—my miscarriage, the loss of a sibling and a sister in Christ, and the loss of a dream—was, in hindsight, a testing of my faith. Loss is humbling, so of course, it's natural to want to avoid the pain associated with trials and testings. It tosses us right back to the bottom of life's chain-of-command. But to run away from the things that humble us is to destroy the very avenue God uses to bring us into a closer, stronger relationship with Him.

Consider these Scriptures:

  • 1 Peter 1:7- "These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So, when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world."
  • James 1:3- "For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow."
  • Isaiah 48:10- "Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction."
  • Romans 5:3-4- "And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope."
  • Psalm 66:10-12- "For You have tried us, O God; You have refined us as silver is refined. You brought us into the net; You laid an oppressive burden upon our loins. You made men ride over our heads; We went through fire and through water, Yet You brought us out into a place of abundance."

Don't doubt the power of grief to test you: Here's proof that it does

Perhaps more than any other emotion, grief—which can strike without warning—has the power to completely derail our faith. While it can manifest in many different ways—as anger, doubt, confusion, inertia, hatred, cold-heartedness, fear and a host of other ills—grief is at the root, and lurking behind grief is loss.

As proof, ask yourself these questions:

  • How many people do you know who have struggled with their faith after going through a divorce, a relational breakup or losing a loved one?
  • How many women do you know who have had an abortion, and unable to emotionally face what they've done, they bury the guilt and grief and defend their choice—the result being they walk away from God and anything that has to do with Him?
  • How many people do you know whose dreams have come crashing down around them, leaving them doubting God's goodness?
  • How many young people do you know who have grown cynical toward Christianity over the loss of trust and confidence in fallen Church leaders?
  • How many victims of abuse do you know, who grieve and resent their loss of innocence, and can't wrap their heads around a loving God, let alone trust a male figure?
  • How many people have you known who have lost their health to a debilitating or deadly disease and think God has abandoned them?
  • How many times have you had cherished expectations thwarted and found yourself wondering where God was in all of it?

I could go on, but I'm sure you get the picture.

The testing of our faith is clearly universal and should be expected. It's meant for our spiritual growth and is part and parcel of being Born-Again and accepting Christ as our Savior. It could easily be, then, that Christian author Josh Harris and worship leader Marty Sampson might be responding to unresolved grief they're experiencing as a result of some kind of loss in their lives. Pray, therefore, that if that's the case, they overcome their confusion and denial and pass the test being leveled at their faith. They will be all the stronger for it if they do.

Since there's no way to prevent grief and the testing of our faith, how best can we combat it in ourselves and help others in their struggle?

4 tips to follow if you find yourself struggling with loss and grief:  

  1. Be open and honest with yourself. If you find you're angry, lashing out at, or retreating from your loved ones or church family, if you're growing cold towards God or drawn into worldly escapes, admit it.
  2. Get real with God. He is completely open to the task of you testing Him about your struggle and won't be offended. Indeed, He relishes proving Himself to you in a deeply personal way that will impact your life forever.
  3. Prepare for the whirlwind that follows such an encounter with God. It happened to Job and could easily happen to you. Imagine the scene, the dust-up, when two animals fight over a prize; teeth bared, fur flying, claws slashing. So it is when God enters the fray after satan has tried to rob you of your faith. It's a "whirlwind" where God is always the victor and hands the prize to you. Just call on Him to your rescue, confess your failings, and He'll be there.
  4. Get help to walk through the healing process. Confide in a trusted friend in Christ; someone who has your best interests at heart and isn't afraid to speak truth in love to you.

 5 pro-active things you can do to intercept grief in others before it gets to the point of the complete abandonment of their faith:

  1. Unless God is speaking directly to you about something specific in a person's life, go for the root immediately. You can't go wrong when you begin praying for someone by simply asking them, "Is there any loss in your life—a death, relationship, dream—now or in the past, that you're grieving about?" This can open a powerful door of healing opportunity, especially if the person has been running away from God because of shame, abuse, abortion, secret sin, etc.
  2. Mentor the person who opens up to you, or find an appropriate person you trust to mentor them. For example, if it's a woman who is grieving a past abortion, pair her with a woman who is best suited to the situation and understands how to spiritually navigate the rabbit warren of guilt involved with it.
  3. When praying for unbelievers, avoid talking about satan unless they are in torment and bringing up his involvement. Terms of good and evil are more understandable to someone who doesn't even believe in God, let alone lucifer. Focusing on the GOODNESS and LOVE of God—not fear of His arch-enemy—is the balm that heals.
  4. Always assume that when someone confides in you it's confidential. Assure them that you will do so. The onus will be on you to keep your promise to them. The importance of this can't be stressed enough. Most grief over a loss is connected to trust issues. You don't want to become one more example of why they can't trust a Christian. If you doubt your ability to retain someone's confidence, connect them with someone you know will.
  5. Share the Bible with a grieving person—all of the times that men and women of God struggled and overcame their doubts and fears and whose faith was strengthened because of it.

Trials and testings will come and go. People will disappoint and fail us. God will sometimes seem distant. Questions about everything under the sun plague all humans, Christians and non-Christians alike. (Image: Teresa Neumann, BCN)

The Harris' and Sampson's of the world won't find a respite from loss and doubt outside of the Church. But God's love fails not. Jesus is with us always. And the Holy Spirit will guide us into wholeness again. So, give all your losses and grief to Him today! Subscribe for free to Breaking Christian News here







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