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Clinging to Hope When You’re Doubting God’s Plan

If the pain got to us, it passed through him first.

I wish that I had the faith I have today the day Ellie died. But to be honest, I think I still doubted this whole Christianity thing. I knew about Jesus but I didn’t know Him. I didn’t have an intimate relationship with Him nor did I even understand what that meant or how to achieve it. I went to church and our girls were in a private Christian school. I had raised my hand one Sunday morning declaring I was giving my life to Jesus. I didn’t fully understand all that entailed, I just thought it was enough.

The day she died was the day I lost all hope in God or any type of faith. I became numb to it all. I remember being so tired of other Christians telling me to read the book Job and how that would help me through the intense waves of darkness that grief brought with it. I know their intentions were good, and grief can make people feel uncomfortable, sometimes they just don’t know what to say so they try to say something they think they should say. All it did was make me question even more. 

Why would a God who claims to love His children so much that He died on the cross for us, allow such pain to enter into our lives?

If He is the orchestrator of it all, why wouldn’t He step in and fix it, or better yet, prevent it altogether?

And if He is going to allow the pain, the least He could do is tell me why.

John 20:1-18 MSG

A mentor of mine brought me to this passage in the bible in the book of John. In chapter 20, it says, “Early in the morning on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone was moved away from the entrance. She ran at once to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, gasping for breath. “They took the Master from the tomb. We don’t know where they’ve put him.”

Peter and the other disciples left immediately for the tomb. They ran, neck and neck. The other disciple got to the tomb first, outrunning Peter. Stooping to look in, he saw the pieces of linen cloth lying there, but he didn’t go in. Simon Peter arrived after him, entered the tomb, and observed the linen cloths lying there, and the kerchief used to cover his head not lying with the linen cloths but separate, neatly folded by itself. Then the other disciple, the one who had gotten there first, went into the tomb, took one look at the evidence, and believed. No one yet knew from the Scripture that he had to rise from the dead. The disciples then went back home.

But Mary stood outside the tomb weeping. As she wept, she knelt to look into the tomb and saw two angels sitting there, dressed in white, one at the head, the other at the foot of where Jesus’ body had been laid. They said to her, “Woman, why do you weep?”

“They took my Master,” she said, “and I don’t know where they put him.” After she said this, she turned away and saw Jesus standing there. But she didn’t recognize him. Jesus spoke to her, “Woman, why do you weep? Who are you looking for?” She, thinking that he was the gardener, said, “Sir, if you took him, tell me where you put him so I can care for him.” Jesus said, “Mary.” Turning to face him, she said in Hebrew, “Rabboni!” meaning “Teacher!” Jesus said, “Don’t cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go to my brothers and tell them, ‘I ascend to my Father and your Father, my God, and your God.’” Mary Magdalene went, telling the news to the disciples: “I saw the Master!” And she told them everything he said to her.

Jesus didn’t give Mary an answer, but He did give her a command. He gave her a job to go do. And out of love for Him, she was obedient to His call, even amid her heartbreak.

So, how do we move from this place of questioning and doubting?

How can we move out of such intense darkness? We first have to reestablish trust with God again.

Reestablishing hope in faith after the loss of a loved one is an intense journey that often involves wrestling with doubt and questioning God's plan. It is in these moments of intense grief where it’s natural to feel disconnected and to question why such soul-crushing pain has been allowed into our lives.

To move away from this doubt, we must reestablish our trust in God, which begins with nurturing our relationship with Him. It’s impossible to trust a stranger, so we need to ensure that Jesus feels like a close friend, not some distant stranger. We have to see Him as the one we turn to in our moments of need and despair. This intimacy with Christ is cultivated through prayer, reading scripture, and seeking His presence in our lives daily.

When we receive salvation, it marks the start of a lifelong journey of faith. It is a profound moment where we encounter the Holy Spirit and is just the beginning of a deep relationship with God. But we have to remember that it is a one-time event. Once we have it, we have it for good.

What we must then focus on is sanctification.

God, in His infinite grace, desires a deep and ongoing relationship with each of us. We cannot forget that He has expectations for His followers, one of which is that we continually seek to build and strengthen our relationship with Him through the Holy Spirit. This involves dedicating time to spiritual growth, engaging in worship, and being open to His guidance and comfort. Our goal is to commit to these things as daily spiritual disciplines.

As we draw nearer to God, we begin to see His hand at work in our lives, even amidst our pain.

This closeness transforms our doubt into trust, allowing us to find hope and meaning even during our greatest loss.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been contacted by someone who has suffered the loss of a child. Or contacted by a friend who has a friend, someone who knows someone. And they don’t know what to do.

It’s not something I feel excited about being known for. But at the same time, even in the moments when I don’t want to, I know that it’s my responsibility to steward my pain well. To remain obedient to what God is laying out in front of me. And if that means using my pain to help others reestablish their hope and faith in Jesus Christ amidst their deepest sorrow, then that is what I am going to do.

By fostering our relationship with the Lord, we learn to lean on God not just as a distant deity but as a compassionate and faithful friend who walks with us through every trial.

We don’t always need to know why in order to remain obedient to Him.

Need more practical tips for navigating grief? Check out my free e-book, "Tips for Healthy Grieving"


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Jun 30
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

So good!


Jun 24
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

This is so good!


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