To the Christian believer who is grieving

Dear Friend,
      My deepest sympathy goes out to you at this time of loss and grief.  I am so very sorry this happened.  I understand you have many questions you are dealing with.  At the fore of those questions is how a good God could allow an event like this to happen.  You are not alone in asking this question.  I have the same question, and find myself hard pressed to find any answers I find acceptable.  
      Skip this paragraph if you are not currently in need of any rational attempt to make sense of this tragedy.  This feeble explanation is sure to console very little, which is why experiencing this tragedy without your faith would be even less imaginable, as if that were possible.  We probably both agree that we are free to make our own decisions in this world.  We are free to accept or reject God, to love or reject our spouse, etc.  God doesn’t make these decisions for us, but He does make these choices available to us.  We are not pawns, and God is not playing a chess game with our lives.  This tragedy is not your fault, your family member’s fault, or God’s fault.  God created the world and it was originally good.  It operates within all kinds of natural laws, and risks are naturally assumed by people each time we interact with the world.  That risk seems to have revealed itself in the worst possible way in this case.  Clearly, this explanation just raises more questions than answers, which is why I cannot imagine going through life without knowing and believing in the goodness and grace of God.       
      Knowing I share your grief offers you little comfort, I’m sure, but far greater comfort may be found in knowing that Almighty God grieves alongside you.  II Corinthians 1:3-4 says, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves received from God” (NIV).  As a Christian, God invites you to have confidence in the power of the cross, trusting that it is the ultimate symbol of redemption and God’s ability to overcome great suffering.  
       While I can only guess how you might feel, God knows exactly how you feel.  I expect you will experience a range of emotions over the course of the upcoming days, weeks, and years.  These emotions are perfectly natural and should be expected.  You have every right to be sad, mad, and even angry with God.  God grieves just as you are grieving.  Only His shoulders are strong enough to carry your burden.  Please do not try to carry the weight of this on your own.  
      As time passes, I expect you will learn something about yourself, God, and your faith in the days or years to come.  What those lessons will be, I cannot venture to guess.  When those lessons are discovered, though, would you promise to share them with me?  I suspect only you will be able to reflect one day in the future on what insights, both good and bad, awaited you.  At this most difficult time, know that I will faithfully lift you and your family up in prayer.  I wish I could offer something beyond my presence or prayers on your behalf.  However, knowing God’s goodness, I feel prayer is perhaps the greatest gift anyone can offer you.  God will sustain you.  We shall trust in the faithfulness of God, trust that His promises are true, and know He will not abandon us.  
     Numbers 6:24-26
The LORD bless you and keep you. The LORD make his face shine on you and be gracious to you. The LORD lift up his face to you and grant you peace. (CEB)

Yours in Christ,
Ryan Heatherly

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