Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Widow's Story: Questioning God

In our post on Monday, Deb voiced her questions for God. In some circles that's against the rules; some see it as lack of faith. But there are many examples in the Bible of people who questioned God: Job, David, Sarah, Jonah, and even Jesus. There's no way, if those people had questions, that questions signal a lack of faith.

Questioning brings us to the end of ourselves; its a symptom of suffering, and may be a sign of healing. Just as itching can indicate that a wound is healing, questions to God may indicate a strengthening point in our journey through grief. Not that they make you feel strong and confident; far from that--you're not ready to run a marathon yet. Rather, we need to understand that questions are a sign of life. You're breathing, blood is circulating, enough oxygen is getting to the brain, you're thinking. That's a good thing.

May I be uncomfortably honest here? I remember questioning God at one point, too. My questions were, "Why are you silent, where have you gone?" I felt abandoned, as if God and Bruce had run off and left me. They were having a grand time up in heaven and had forgotten all about me down here on earth. During the second year of widowhood my pain and questions embodied themselves in the following picture:

I saw myself as a four-year-old little girl swinging high in the sky with her best friend Bruce, on a happy summer day. Vintage two-story colonials lined the street of the neigborhood where treetops touched their fingertips overhead and daisies and rose bushes smiled in patches of sunshine. As I pumped my swing higher and higher, the wind streamed my blonde bangs off my forehead, and the sun warmed my tan arms and legs. Bruce and I looked at each other, our eyes full of love, faces smiling while we laughed and teased, trying to out fly one another.

Then I heard a squeaky screen door open from the house next door, God's house. His big feet stomped off his freshly swept back porch and came towards Bruce and I as our swings sailed up and down together. With one large hand God lovingly scooped Bruce up to be with Him; but with the other He clenched a fist and punched me off the swing. I flew through the air and crashed on sharp stones; knees and hands scraped and bloody, inlaid with dirt and small stones, my lip cut and gritty. Crumpled on the ground, I heard myself sobbing—a brokenhearted little girl who had never known such pain before. I heard the sound of footsteps walking away from me. The door to God’s nice house slammed shut and the deadbolt clicked and locked me out.

Knocked down. Abandoned. Alone. It's the worst place. It's a little bit of hell. And although the picture perfectly explained my feelings of abandonment, it ignored the truth of God Word which said, "Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you." Hebrews 13:5

Have you ever been there? It's a very human place. It's the place from which Jesus cried out on the cross, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" Matthew 27:46

It's also the best place. Because inside that tomb, the pain cuts deep furrows where God, the master of resurrections and new life, will plant joy. Over the next several weeks I'd like to show you how joy gets planted.

What? You want it Right Now? Yes, I know, but it takes time. For now give yourself time, like Myra said last Wednesday. Allow yourself the questions, like Deb voiced on Monday. Find yourself some good friends and a community to grieve in, which you'll hear about this coming Monday. Above all, pray and wait, even while you're crumpled on the ground, even while you don't have words. God hears your groans.  

If you're not crumpled on the ground, I'm glad. God's grace spares some and they don't feel like this at all. Grief is different for everyone. Bear with the fallen, though, the knocked down and abandoned. Watch and wait with us to see the good plans and path God has in store. 
(Photo credit:


  1. Thank you sweet friend for opening your heart. I never felt the abandonment, but definitely the knocked down part. And I was confused as to who could have done such a thing to me. Was I robbed? Could my loving God really have allowed such a tragic thing happen to me and my children? Through the questions though, my relationship with God grew stronger. I knew the place I was at was only temporary, and that the journey was far from over! Love you! Carol

  2. Thank you for sharing many people can relate in some way. Beth

  3. Dearest Ferree,

    Your writing takes my breath away. Thank you for your honesty and your vulnerability. Thank you for allowing God to take your pain and help others. I pray for your ministry and that many will read your words and know the hope that is in Christ.

    Hugs, sister,
    Elaine W. Miller

  4. Fortunately I haven't been where you've been but I first noticed it when my mother died in 1997 leaving my father very lost. Now I see that reapeated over and over in my church. A large number of the people in our congregation are age 75 and every year the number of widows and widowers grows and I see my father's lost and lonely eyes and it hurts to see them and know there is very little I can do or say to help them heal. To know they need to walk that lonely treck through the dark days of hopeleness before the see the light again with nothing more than their faith and an occasional traveling companion brings tears to my eyes. Thank you for holding their hand, your experience is of great value. Ed

  5. Wow Aunt Ferree that was moving! Thank you for sharing!

  6. Oh, wow....this describes it pretty perfectly. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Your comments mean so much to me, thank you everyone!


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