Losing Someone and Death (from a Biblical Perspective)
Losing Someone and Death Introduction
I am a 23 year old Computer Technician. I've had my share of loss and anguish, and I wish to share with you the Biblical perspective on suffering, for there is MUCH suffering in the Bible. It is all over the place. That's because life is suffering. We suffer on a daily basis, and find small ways to find happiness even so. Here are some well known stories of loss and anguish in the Bible, and maybe some that you aren't familiar with.
Job's Loss of Loved Ones
Job will always be the flagship for what it means to suffer, anguish, and know what it means to endure losing all that you hold dear.
Who was he?
Job was a simple man with many children, livestock, and possessions, a "blameless and upright" man as God said so himself. He lived his life for God every day and was a model citizen in all respects.
What did he lose?
Everything except his own life, and he nearly lost that, but God would not allow Satan to have that liberty. Job lost his children, his animals, his household, his possessions, and even his health. Why? That's a tricky question, but the shortest answer is that it was to show the devil that there are indeed people who under extreme duress are willing to follow God and not curse His name.
How did Job respond to losing all of this?
He tore his clothes, knelt to the ground and wept. He suffered. He couldn't fathom why such an unjust atrocity could happen to him, and he argued with his "friends" about it, and was even told by his (oh so loving) wife that he should curse God and die. His friends couldn't fathom why he would still follow God even after all of these terrible things had happened, but yet Job kept his faith, even though he didn't understand why, how, or to what extent he was being tested.
How did God respond to Job?
He appeared and humbled Job with words that would shake even the firmest mountain. He made Job put it in perspective, and Job realized that truly his words were a source of trouble, and that he need simply obey God and accept his reality, and praise God, the God of Israel.
And after that, God rewarded him with twice what he had before. Twice the children, twice the livestock, and twice the land.
What to take away from this story?
Remain faithful to the Father above even during the harshest times of life and you will be rewarded twicefold, and blessed as one of His Faithful Ones in all of eternity. It will be difficult, there will be weeping, there will be anguish, there will be senseless evil that happens in your life, but remaining faithful to God and not losing your Faith will deliver you from Evil every time. STAY STRONG! His Strength will blanket you like no physical blanket ever could.
Adam and Eve's Loss of Possessions
Everyone knows Adam and Eve. They had everything. The Garden of Eden! They could stand and walk with God! But in mere moments, they went from having everything to living in the fallen world that was as unforgiving as it was cruel. Here's their story of loss and anguish.
Who are Adam and Eve?
They are the original two humans created by God. They resided in the Garden of Eden with Him.
What caused their great loss?
They did. They chose to eat of the fruit that opened their eyes to evils unimaginable. When God found them clothed in shame and guilt, He knew they could not reside in his perfect paradise anymore.
When Adam and Eve realized that they were naked, and felt shame and guilt for the first time, and fear of God and of the world, they clothed themselves with leaves and hid from God. They ran away from their deed. They didn't know what they had done, but in a way, they did.
God punished them, and rightly so, and so then they were banished henceforth from ever reaching paradise again....until well Heaven. Men and women were to endure hardship, men in the fields plowing the flawed earth, and women enduring great pain in giving birth to children.
What to take away from their misfortune?
That some of our grief and loss is by our own unintentional doing, but we still suffer and feel the guilt and shame of the situation nonetheless. Not much is said of how Adam and Eve felt about it, other than that Adam blamed Eve, and Eve blamed the serpent, and God made the serpent the enemy of mankind. Our losses, our griefs, our pains are all felt by God as well. Don't you think he was in pain when He found out His children had fallen prey to the devil? He hears us, He feels what we feel, and He is called the Comforter for a reason. Pray to Him and offer up all your pain and sorrow and anguish and grief, and let Him be the one to comfort you.
Elisha's Loss of His Father
Now, this father and son duo were inseparable and accompanied each other on travels for years. They were very close and Elisha loved his father dearly. But when he was told by several different people that he would be losing his father shortly, he responded with "Yes, I know,” Elisha replied, “so be quiet.”"
Now, this how I would respond as well. If someone repeatedly told me of my father leaving this world, I would tell them to be quiet as well.
What did Elisha lose?
He lost his father, his advisor, his master, and his friend, all at once, with fiery chariots as he ascended into heaven. What a way to go, is all I have to say. Very dramatic, but also very heartbreaking for Elisha.
Sometimes we have loss that we can see coming, and sometime not. In this case, he saw it coming, and even though you may know that your family member is going to die, it will never be an easy thing.
As soon as Elijah passed on to Heaven, Elisha took the cloak that had dropped from Elijah and struck the water of the Jordan river and called out God. Where are you God, now, essentially. But when he struck the water, the river divided in two just as Moses and Elijah had done in times past.
The prophets were amazed at this, and became like servants to him, and wanted to go in search of Elijah. Elisha told them not to look, because he knew the truth of where Elijah had gone. It wasn't a mountaintop, it wasn't a hill, or a cave, it was Heaven. Elijah had given up hope of ever seeing his father on earth again, but even so, these prophets persisted, and Elisha let them search for Elijah.
After they came back empty-handed, Elisha responded with "Didn't I tell you not to go?"
Elisha went on to do great ministries and lead a productive life, and even though he did not like the fact that his father was leaving this earth, he knew that it must be.
What to take away from this?
Say your daughter, age 7, is dying of terminal cancer. You're going to be heartbroken. Being tears, being anguish, you're going to be distraught in every sense of the word. And you won't understand why she has to leave this world so early...and without having lived at all. But God has a plan. He always, always has a plan. The unfortunate part is that we usually don't know what it is, or only know part of it, or only know part of it years later. But let the comfort of the Lord's timing, and the Lord's plan be at the forefront of your mind as you grieve your losses. For surely as in the story of Job, with great losses can come even greater gains.
Let's make this real.
Say you lost your job.
You didn't do anything wrong, your boss just doesn't like you. You're angry at the situation and you grieve the job that you enjoyed for years. All because of some stupid boss. You appeal and appeal the decision of firing but make no headway. You file for unemployment but they turn you down because your former boss tells them things that are inconsistent with what you say. You're just angry and sad and feel worthless.
But, believe it or not, God has another job, an even better one, lined up for you. He has a different path for you, and getting fired was all just part of the plan. You will fume and vent, and cry even, and that's fine, that's normal, that's understandable, but God has you covered. God ALWAYS provides. Place your faith in Him, and look to the future with hope, not despairing the past.
Say my girlfriend left me for another man
Your heart will be ripped to shreds. You will feel like you want to die. That death would be the only release from the heartache you feel. And at the same time you want to KILL that other man, and have enormous contempt yet love for her all the same. You feel so worthless for being the one that lost her....and that no one could ever love you again, and that you did something wrong to have lost her.
These are all feelings, and a natural process of grieving. But what really happened, was God saved YOU from HER. A girl that would do that is a girl you should never settle for. While you might think, "Why, God, why have me meet her and fall in love in the first place if this is how it was to end up?!" but that's life, isn't it? A lot of stuff that doesn't make sense, but all has a purpose in the end. It's all part of God's plan, God's path for you.
There are countless circumstances in life where you will experience loss, like the loss of a loved one, or financial loss, or the loss of a good opportunity; the list goes on forever.
What All of this Means
Anguish, pain, loss and death are universal things. They give meaning to life.
Everyone, EVERYONE, including those people in the Bible have experiences loss, anguish, sorrow, pain, anger, ambivalence, depression, and the rest. You are NOT alone, and you have the combined experience of everyone on this planet to help you through your pains. But above all of that, you have Jesus Christ, the one who came down to this miserable planet to suffer greater pains than we could ever, and DIE for US so that WE may be FREE. Free from sin, and He sent His Holy Spirit to console us, to strengthen us, to guide us, and to gives us HOPE when all else seems like it's despair and ruin. Jesus IS HOPE. Now please, brothers and sisters, go forth with hope that there IS A PLAN and there IS A REASON to your suffering and that Jesus suffers right alongside us. I pray for you all daily, and hope that you are doing well. In Jesus' Holy Name, Amen.