When we find ourselves lost, deep in the pain of grief, we often cry out… why? Most widows reach a point when we wonder why God would allow such a thing to happen to us or our family. Our expectations, dreams and hopes are dashed to pieces when our beloved husband enters Heaven’s gates. We search for a logical explanation. We need to understand.
What happens when we can’t find a reasonable answer? We struggle. We question our spirituality. We question God’s love for us. Why did He let this happen? There’s that word again—why.
We try to use human logic to interpret things that cannot easily be explained. Our view of the world changes. Our definition of what we once knew as normal is shattered. We question what and who we can trust. Our expectations and convictions of the past are no longer true. Life threw us a curveball. Deep grief envelopes us while the world around us spins onward, with no respect for, or acknowledgment of our devastating loss. We feel blindsided and invisible. We tell ourselves our life was not supposed to happen this way.
A mind consumed by grief can easily surrender to emotions and feelings which are not dependable or trustworthy. God is. It is in the struggles and trials we face in this life we are refined and given opportunity to grow and learn. Our character is exposed and we get to choose how we want to respond.
The following poem by Grant Colfax Tullar titled The Weaver may offer some perspective to consider.
by Grant Colfax Tullar (1869-1950)
My life is but a weaving
Between my God and me.
I cannot choose the colours
He weaveth steadily.
Oft’ times He weaveth sorrow;
And I in foolish pride
Forget He sees the upper,
And I the underside.
Not ’til the loom is silent
And the shuttles cease to fly,
Will God unroll the canvas
And reveal the reason why.
The dark threads are as needful
In the weaver’s skillful hand,
As the threads of gold and silver
In the pattern He has planned.
He knows, He loves, He cares;
Nothing this truth can dim.
He gives the very best to those
Who leave the choice to Him.
It’s not about how capable we are, it’s about how faithful God is to work through us when we give Him permission. It’s not easy to surrender to God and trust Him to take our pain, fear, and all the emotions and questions… and believe He will take care of us and give us the future we hope for.
This is God’s Word on the subject: … I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for. When you call on Me, when you come and pray to Me, I’ll listen. When you come looking for Me, you’ll find Me. Yes, when you get serious about finding Me and want it more than anything else, I’ll make sure you won’t be disappointed.” God’s Decree. Jeremiah 29: 11-14
There is power in asking questions. Being courageous enough to ask questions empowers us to explore new wonders and find alternatives to the status quo. There’s an unexplainable beauty in grappling with a really good question. With that being said, I believe in the context of moving through grief, “why” questions tend to be kind of useless.
Sometimes dwelling too much on the “why” can lead to some unhealthy thought spirals. When we are already wrestling with powerful emotions and chaos, we are in the midst of dealing with a wide bombardment of questions demanding answers. It might seem like pondering why this is happening could be cathartic and necessary. The truth is, even if there is a reasonable explanation, those answers do little to improve the situation.
Ours is not to reason why… Alfred Lord Tennyson
Simply dismissing these questions with “ours is not to reason why” can make things worse, especially in this very vulnerable situation. I believe our questions typically shape us more than our answers.
Gently reframing the question can consciously redirect our attention into a “what next” mindset that can be incredibly constructive— even empowering. Tell yourself, I don’t know if we’ll ever know why he’s gone and I’m a widow now, but I can explore what I can do next. Asking “why” will often elude us, while “what next” gives us something concrete to work with.
I know it’s not necessarily easy, and it defies human logic, but here’s what can make a lasting difference. When we make the decision to fix our eyes on God, believe what He says in His word, and daily give Him praise, no matter what’s staring us straight in the face, we suddenly realize God already began to release the grip those struggles can have over us.
Let joy be your continual feast. Make your life a prayer. And in the midst of everything be always giving thanks, for this is God’s perfect plan for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18
What does it mean to give Him praise every day? How do we offer thanks when our life feels like a shattered mess? Let’s start by clarifying what it means to give thanks and praise.
We often interchange praise and thanks when we pray. Both words are nouns and verbs, but they each have a specific objective. They are often used as substitutes and together because they overlap in purpose… to let us worship God.
Praise is offered to recognize God’s character and nature. It expresses awe and reverence for who God is and His holiness. Thanksgiving is expressed to show gratitude for answered prayers, for ways God worked in situations and lives, and for specific blessings.
Sometimes it really is a sacrifice to offer praise. Painful life blows and loss sent us spiraling. The rug has been pulled out from under us and we can’t find solid footing. We may not feel like it. We’re struggling. We’re weary. Sometimes we feel like He let us down. We think God seems distant, like He’s far away, or doesn’t really care about what’s troubling us.
Honor Me by trusting in Me in your day of trouble. Cry aloud to Me, and I will be there to rescue you. Psalm 50: 15
There’s no one more trustworthy than our Heavenly Father God. What do you really have to lose? Is holding on to the pain and grief giving you peace? Is it making your situation better? Choosing to pour your heart out to God and asking Him for help will cleanse your soul and allow Him to start healing you.
I won’t be pulled in different directions or worried about a thing. I’m saturated in prayer throughout each day, offering my faith-filled requests before God with overflowing gratitude. I tell Him every detail of my life, then God’s wonderful peace that transcends human understanding will guard my heart and mind through Jesus Christ. Philippians 4: 6-7
The power of praise, acknowledging God’s goodness and holiness, believing His word, and placing your trust in Him, will bring you to a place of peace and rest so you can fulfill the plans and purposes He created you for. Also take time to thank Him for the many blessings He bestows. Counting and expressing your appreciation for your blessings will transform your attitude and build a sincere humility to honor God.
We probably won’t understand why God took our husband and left us a widow. Sometimes there is no good reason. If we can find the courage to reframe the question to facilitate a helpful answer, we open the door to find our new purpose going forward, and trust God to lead us and be with us each step along the way. We may never know why, but there is hope for a future where we will again have a fulfilling and content life.
It is my sincere prayer you find something in this to give you hope. I’ll close by sharing Paul’s prayer for you.
I am contending for you that your heart will be wrapped in the comfort of heaven and woven together into love’s fabric. This will give you access to all the riches of God as you experience the revelation of God’s great mystery—Christ. Our spiritual wealth is in Him, like hidden treasure waiting to be discovered—heaven’s wisdom and endless riches of revelation knowledge. Colossians 2: 2-3