The week Kim died, I said to several people around me that I did not want to dishonor Kim or God in the way I responded to loss. In time, I learned I would not dishonor Kim if I honored God. So, honoring God became a rallying cry in my heart. This is nothing to be prideful of; this is the most obvious response a believer should make. It should be a foundational assumption that we would seek to honor God even in times of loss.
Easier said than done.
“He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” Micah 6:8
Humility is a key to walking through grief in a healthy and God-honoring manner. Walking humbly with God makes sense. I mean, who thinks walking arrogantly with God makes sense? Trusting the Father’s heart in humility is a recipe for resiliency. Failing or refusing to trust God is a recipe for bitterness.
I need to state the obvious, again. I’m not suggesting in any way to diminish or sugarcoat the pain of loss. I have found that you can trust God and feel pain at the same time. Jesus died a gruesome and painful death. Don’t tell me I should expect an easy road in this broken world. Brokenness cost Jesus his life. We are promised we will suffer in this world. To be clear, suffering comes in many forms out of brokenness. Death. Illness. Persecution. Evil. Injuries. Emotional pain. In the case of Jesus, death was required to pay the penalty of sin and to bring life out of death.
“Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” Luke 24:26
So, honoring God during loss requires humble acceptance. In God’s providence he has given this gift of pain to you. Stiffen your neck and resist at your own peril. Receive and embrace the pain and learn lessons only gained in difficult times.
“Too often sorrow’s gifts are not accepted, the messengers are not welcomed, and they can only turn and bear away again the blessings which they had brought in love, but which we would not take.” J. R. Miller, The Ministry of Comfort
Honoring God means trusting him through the painful darkness. Honoring God means facing the loss but with gospel hope. Honoring God does not require you to redefine the loss by calling it gain. Honoring God means humbly receiving all things from the hand of God. Honoring God means receiving all things with faith and trust.
I have learned to receive good gifts and painful gifts with the recognition that they are both filtered through God’s providential hands. God invites me to honor him through all circumstances. Knowing I am his property, his child, settles a lot of questions.
“The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him…” Romans 8:16-17
If I am his child, I am an heir no matter the temporal pain I endure. Therefore, we walk in humility enthused to honor God in all circumstances. We count everything else as loss, says Paul in Philippians 3:8.
If you’re facing loss, seek to honor God on your difficult and unwanted journey.
“But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.” Philippians 3:7-8
“To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever.” 1 Timothy 1:17