How Can I Have Faith After Losing My Son?

Written by Christie Hoos

faith_havefaithI have never been a big fan of the “paste a smile on and pretend it’s okay” club.

In my case it was months after my son, Noah’s, death that I began to feel angry. I had to return to work and the crushing unfairness of it all began to sink in. I used to think that people of true faith accepted everything quietly and calmly, but now I’m not so sure.

I wrestled with God for several months.

My husband was afraid that he would never get his wife back. If anyone saw me walking in the woods behind our house they must have thought I was crazy — I was muttering, crying, even shouting at God. I read books in the bible that dealt with people who were suffering — Job, Psalms, Ecclesiastes and Lamentations — and was reassured that some of God’s favorite people were angry and confused by Him. The best advice I got was that giving God the silent treatment would only punish me. God can take it, so tell Him what you are feeling.

How can I have faith you ask? I’ll try to answer you as best I can. My husband is a scholar and he finds reassurance in philisophical arguements about truth, the state of the world and nature of God. I’ll admit that these truths are convincing and I would be happy to share some with you if you like, but in crisis my faith was not bolstered by academic points so I won’t get into them now.

First I must explain my faith to you, so that you know what I am choosing to rely on.

I do believe with my whole heart that God is good and the world is not. The bible is clear that because of our choices to reject God we live in a fallen world full of sickness, natural disasters, pain and death. This is not God’s purpose for humanity – he wants us to live with Him where there is no pain, no sadness, no death. In order to make this happen He made the greatest sacrifice, He sent His own son to die, to pay the price for our wrong choices (it is hard to imagine that He loves us so much that he would allow his son to die – on purpose). When Jesus rose from the dead three days later He destroyed forever the power of death over the human soul. Still, we must choose to accept or reject this gift. That is the faith I have.

I trust in Jesus to pay for my wrongs and to save me from death.

Especially since Noah’s death, this hope is my foundation. I know that one day I will see not only Jesus but my son again. I would rather he was with me, but since he is not I am so glad that he is safe and loved. For this reason I hold onto my faith. I even wrote a website all about this – Noah’s Place.

Not only that, but my faith in Jesus is about relationship. Like I said, I have been angry with Him. I will never be happy that my son is away from me (even temporarily). I miss him terribly. There is a hole in our family and in my heart that aches. But God does know how we feel. He lost His son too. And He has made it so clear to me that He loves me more than I can comprehend. This comfort did not come quickly or easily. Slowly, in so many ways – through reading the bible, praying (even angry and despairing prayers), through nature, through others around me — God put His arms around me and helped my broken heart to heal. He was there all along I just had to open up to Him.

To live without faith seems to me a hopeless, comfortless and pointless existence.

So I hold on, even when I don’t feel like it. This is how I have faith, not a feeling or an experience, but a decision. As Job said “though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him.” I can’t imagine life without Jesus. Holding onto faith has been a struggle, but to live without it, is unthinkable.

You have a choice to make also. Faith is not something you lose, it’s something you choose or reject. I’m sorry to say that anyone who has lost a child has a very long and hard journey ahead of them. Grief is exhausting, messy, and misunderstood. Anger and confusion are normal and healthy (only if you get stuck there for an extended amount of time will you need to worry and seek medical help). If you have lost a child, be patient with yourself, you are in mourning. Do not rely on your feelings to decide what you believe. Look ahead – what kind of life do you want? Who do you want to be?

I would not trade my Noah for a child that lived.

I would not have chosen this path, it has been hard and painful, but it has changed me for the better. I am forever grateful to my son for that.

In Love,
Christie
Noah’s Mom

If you have lost a child, know that you are not alone. I can’t tell you why you’re child is gone, but I can tell you that there is a God who loves you and who loves your child. He knows what it means to lose a son.

Are you struggling with a sadness that never seems to end? We are here to talk

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435 Responses to “How Can I Have Faith After Losing My Son?”

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    I am so sorry to hear about your loss Darlene. How did Aaron die? How old was he?

    I wish I could answer your question of why God allowed Aaron to die, but I know that God is listening to your prayers and will lead you through all the questions that you have. Have you had an active relationship with God in your life? In what ways have you heard Him speak to you before?

    Let me join you in prayer: Lord God, I do pray with Darlene asking that You would help all of those who loved Aaron to know Your leading them through all the questions they have. I thank You that we can boldly come to you with questions like these and that You listen and answer in Your perfect way and in Your perfect timing. I pray that Darlene would be aware of Your presence with her as she grieves the loss of Aaron. Amen.

    Darlene, do you have family and friends that are near you? Are you involved in a church? What kind of support do you have as you mourn the loss of your son?

  • I lost my sweet precious youngest son Aaron on June 1 2016. He died suddenly and I want God to tell me why.

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Hi Philip, it is an amazing thing that God invites humanity to participate in His restoration of this broken world–broken because of the choices made by humans. We cannot fully understand how the balance works between God’s sovereign will and our freedom to choose because we have a limited perspective tied to time and space. God has no such limitations and so He is able to accomplish His perfect will as it corresponds to our freedom of choice. Our prayers do influence the actions of God, but our prayers also align us with His perfect will. And through it all, we engage in relationship with the Almighty Creator, the One who loves us so much that He sacrificed Himself to rescue us from our rebellion. God’s purpose for creating us was for that relationship.

    Please don’t misunderstand me to be saying that a child’s illness and/or death is the result of a specific sin that they have committed or that their parents have committed. The Bible does give examples of that but Jesus also told us that illness and disabilities are not the result of anyone’s specific sin. Especially in the life of a child, the more likely cause of the illness is the fact that death and decay has come into the world because of humanity’s rebellion against God. Studies of the human genome have shown that there is an accumulation of deleterious genetic mutations that gets passed on from one generation to the next. That could explain why we see more cancer, more allergies, and other health challenges today. That information seems to confirm the biblical idea of death and decay having an increasingly destructive impact on the human race as a result of our rebellion against God.

    At times God miraculously intervenes in those situations, just as we see through Jesus ministry on Earth. Just a couple of months ago, a friend of mine shared a prayer request for his granddaughter who had cysts on her spinal column. Surgery with a neurosurgeon was scheduled, but when they did the pre-surgery MRI the cysts were not there. Somehow, between the two MRIs, God miraculously healed this little girl.

    At other times, God chooses not to heal the child in this life, like Ethan Hallmark. I believe I shared this video earlier in the forum but here is the 45 minute documentary of the Hallmark family http://www.iamsecond.com/ethan/. I cannot say I understand why God allows some children to succumb to illness and others He heals but I know it is not because He is punishing one and not the other. In either circumstance God’s love is infinitely the same. That is hard for us to see but I know that is true because of the character of God.

    I know that you have experienced loss in your life Philip, and for that, my heart breaks. I wish I could remove that pain from your life. I don’t know why God has allowed that to occur but I do know that His love for you has never wavered, and His offer of relationship has never been taken away. I continue to pray for you.

  • Tom Tom says:

    So Philip, when did you lose a child and under what circumstances?

  • Philip Koen says:

    To Tom: Insensitive to people’s faith? Insensitive to people who have faith? Rather insensitive to people who have no idea what some are going through but still giving their opinion on a matter that they have no experience of. Insensitive to people who see this as an opportunity for propaganda for their god rather than try to understand the pain and suffering of others.

  • Philip Koen says:

    To Jamie: Again the old story of context, the moment that something written in the Bible does not add up the excuse of context comes up.
    So if we ask something that is contrary to his will it is game over? Hahaha, so what is the use of asking if it is only his will that counts? Promising that he will help, a person then prays to him to heal his sick child but no, daddy in the sky will continue to push his will on the person and the child dies a horrible and painful death. But let us not forget that he is love. And oh please remember he gave us free will! Free will, but god’s will overrides it. Really? It is nonsense like this that needs to be ridiculed, don’t you even feel ashamed to come with arguments like this?

    Ask anything and you will receive it. Oh wait, only if it is what I want otherwise it is game over!
    God sees things more perfect than us? So it is perfect to let a child suffers from a terminal sickness and then let him die after a year suffering? This child had to go through this because humanity rejected god? Did this child rejected god? Is that why he is punished by the almighty and loving god? A child of three years old rejected god? No, he did not reject god, humanity rejected god and that is why the loving god now punishes this innocent child. But just promise god, he is so loving and merciful. The Moon is made of cheese. And people expect respect for their religion?

  • Sharon says:

    to tom thank you tom for the encouragement much appreciated thanks again– sharon

  • Tom Tom says:

    Sharon–
    I believe what you said was accurate and true. No two people respond to heartache and loss in the same way; but typically, those who have had some faith in the Lord will go one of two directions–either bitterness toward God because of a need to blame someone or something in order to make sense of the matter, or an improved relationship of faith and trust in him because at the end of the day, and as I believe you or Jamie have said, to whom else will you turn for comfort? I don’t think you have anything to apologize for.

    I do find it hypocritical that some people who denounce someone else’s comments as “insensitive” will in the next breath berate and be very insensitive to those who have faith in the Lord. There is no profit in that.

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Hi Philip, the promise is true in Matthew 21, but it is important to understand it within the full context of what God says. If we ask for something that is contrary to His will or His nature He will not act. God is not a Genie in a bottle that we can command at our will. Jesus gave us a great example of how to pray when He was faced with the prospect of suffering and dying. He asked that His Father would accomplish His purposes some other way, but then He added, “not as I will, but as You will.” (Matthew 26:39) I know that prayer in my life is more about aligning myself with God’s will rather than demanding that He align Himself with mine. When we make Jesus the focus of our trust and follow His leading in our lives He will grant everything that we ask for because it is in line with His will.

    I know that begs the question, “Does God will that children should suffer illness and die?” That is a difficult question. As I have said before in this forum, God sees things far more perfectly than any of us can and He allows things that I don’t understand. But because I know His character and his infinite love I trust myself into His hands. The world we live in is far from the perfection which God originally created it, and that is because of the sinfulness of all humanity. Disease, disaster, and death exist because humanity has rejected God. That is not to say that children die because they or their parents have committed some specific sin, but rather our reality is full of death because we have all turned our backs on God. God is at work to restore that perfection and has sacrificed Himself in order to make that possible; one day all things will be made perfect again. In the meantime, God in HIs grace is reaching out to all of humanity giving them the opportunity to turn from their rejection of Him and instead put their trust in Him.

    I have acknowledged that I cannot fully relate to the pain of losing a child to disease or accident. However, the truth of God’s love and faithfulness are not based on my experience in all areas, but in His character. I am not suggesting that people listen to me because I have experienced the same pain that they have but I have experienced the love of God and know that it is perfect in every way.

  • Sharon says:

    to Philip my deepest apologies for saying that I guess its not good on this site to mention that sorry I didn’t mean to offend anyone with that. I am sorry if I offended anyone with that– sharon

  • Philip Koen says:

    To Sharon: The phrase that you brought up about getting bitter or better is to say the least sick. Do you really think that it is something to mention on a website that deals with the deepest pain of people, people who struggle with the loss of a child. You dare to come with this insensitive comment, people who stop believing will be classified as bitter while those who keep their faith will be better. Is that how it works? It is because of insensitive comments like this of religious people that I detest religion. The more meaningless words and phrases the more damage to people that are in the deepest pain and sorrow.

  • Sharon says:

    to Philiph. I know for me and maybe Jamie we don’t know on what people go through with a death of a child. I can’t imagine on what people on this site go through with the death of a child. but I know you know the bible and don’t want to hear about it but David in the bible prayed for his child but the child died anyways I heard a phrase of you become either bitter or better from experiences like a death of a child or any thing people go through. I am sorry people experience lost of a child I know a couple who are still grieving a lost of a daughter who died from suicide I can’t imagine on what they went or go through but they keep relying on God for strength I am praying for all of this ones on this site who lost a child to death my sympathy to all– sharon

  • Philip Koen says:

    To Jamie. No need to give me Bible verses, I know what is written in the Bible, one of the reasons that I do not believe in god and the Bible is because I have a very good knowledge of what is written in it.
    You brought up the promises issue, don’t you think that the promise in Matthew 21:22 is absolutely false? Mat21:22- “And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive” Now without many words and beating around the bush, is it true that if a person prays and believes he will receive what he is praying for? Yes or no?
    You say: ”But what Jesus promises is that we will find strength in His presence with us, and He will bring purpose and meaning to life even in the tragic loss of a child” So telling a person who lost a child that the presence of a being that is not even acknowledged by some Christian faiths and for whom there is absolutely no evidence will bring purpose and meaning to life? Do you want to tell that person that the death of her/his child had a purpose, was it the best thing to happen because god knows best? Was it the best thing to happen? Yes or no?
    You say :” That is why I say with Peter, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” (John 6:68) I can think of no other place to put my faith or hope than in Jesus and His promise of life” To make comments like that while you are not in the situation that some people are in is very arrogant. You have no idea what it is like to be in their shoes and to come and tell them what YOU do or will do is just stupid. You have no idea what some people are going through or what is on their minds.

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Hi Cheryl, I know my losses do not compare to yours. My grief has come through miscarriages, loss of adult loved ones to disease, and walking alongside those who have lost children to accidents and suicide. I know that I cannot fully comprehend the sorrow and pain of those on this site who have sat with their children through painful sickness and death, or those who have had their children taken through tragic accidents. I am not here to say, “I have walked this road and so can you”, but rather I am here to say that I know God and His Son Jesus Christ. I know His character and His faithfulness. He will carry you through whatever circumstances you may face and He will be true to His promises.

    My point about giving people freedom to express themselves in this forum was to remind us all that this is a place where people are free to share their experiences and thoughts whatever they may be (as long as they are being respectful to everyone). Not everyone has come through their struggle with a firm trust in God’s faithfulness and this is a safe place for them to express their experiences as much as it is a place to express your faith in Jesus. If someone’s views are not helpful to you or anyone else, you do not have to dwell on them or even read them. There has been, and will continue to be, a support network here for people needing encouragement and prayer as they struggle through their own questions about faith in face of grief. Even when there are threads of conversations that get off on other tangents, people will always be able to share their doubts and sorrows and receive words of support and inspiration. No one who is participating in this conversation will be excluded as long as they are being respectful to others. I hope my words did not offend you or seem to imply that you were being offensive. I just wanted to make sure the parameters of this forum were clear.

    Thank you for your participation and your consistent encouragement.

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Hi Philip, when I wrote that we can face sorrow when our trust is in Jesus is not suggesting that Jesus will take away our sorrow or that we no longer feel sorrow. You will notice that the promise from Jeremiah 17:7 does not say that the heat and drought end, but that the tree planted by the stream still finds strength, life and the ability to bear fruit. I don’t anticipate a child being raised from the dead or a compensation that makes up for the loss of the child–I can’t imagine anything taking the place of a lost child in a parent’s heart. But what Jesus promises is that we will find strength in His presence with us, and He will bring purpose and meaning to life even in the tragic loss of a child. The sorrow will never go away, and it never should; a child can never be forgotten or replaced. But Jesus will help us to face that sorrow and give us strength to continue.

    Here is the hope that Jesus gives: there is more to humanity than just this life. God has created us with an eternal soul that connects to Him in a way that no other creature can because we are created in His image. We have a role and a purpose for eternity to enjoy His infinite love and be a living testimony to HIs wisdom, love and truth. For those who embrace our created purpose and live in relationship with Him, there is a place for us in His presence forever. We will be reunited with all those who have gone before us and join together in Heaven and continue to live out that eternal destiny with Him.

    That is why I say with Peter, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” (John 6:68) I can think of no other place to put my faith or hope than in Jesus and His promise of life.

  • stella says:

    Cheryl, I agree with all your posts. Truely speaking, it is only parents who have lost a child who know the magnitude of the pain they go through.
    I lost a son of 18 year a year ago and up to no I do not see the purpose of life in the world and I totally lost trust in god. I believe there is no god in the world. I also agree with Philip’s post though many people are trying to take him as having a negative attitude towards god. Sure he knows what he is saying and I totally concur with him.

  • Cheryl says:

    I would like to clarify for me personally that I do believe Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever more and it is not His will for disease and sickness and He originally created a world without sickness or dying but because sin entered into the world there are these things. However, I do believe Jesus paid the price for our healing on calvary and we obtain it through faith. I can not answer why my son did not live but one day I will know. I do know he is with the Lord in paradise and I do know the character of God who loved us so much He gave up His only begotten Son so that we could obtain His rightousness and live with Him forever.
    It is a struggle though to live with all the unanswered questions and the pain. The bible says to weep with those who weep, and rejoice with those who rejoice. When believers who have never lost a child give advice to believers who have it often feels petty because you do not have to overcome the pain and trial and suffering that we do to press on in our faith. I think you better serve your brother and sisters in Christ to just display the tangible love of God. Jesus remains my hope through my devastation but unfortunately I have found people most dissappointing and of very little comfort during the worst trial of my life and times believers can be the most hurtfull when they yeild the word of God without Grace.

  • Philip Koen says:

    Correction: The sentence “You are actually telling somebody that if they struggle with the pain of losing a child they are focused enough on your god?” was meant to be:”You are actually telling somebody that if they struggle with the pain of losing a child they are NOT focused enough on your god?

  • Philip Koen says:

    To Jamie. “When He is the focus of our trust we can face all manner of sorrows” It is exactly overused phrases like this that can do more harm than good. You are actually telling somebody that if they struggle with the pain of losing a child they are focused enough on your god? Really?
    The same goes for “Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose trust IS the LORD” Remember most of the people trusted and begged their god to help and they still lost their child but if they now just keep on trusting everything will be alright. How alright? Will their child be raised from the dead or will they be compensated like Job was compensated with a lot of donkeys after god killed all his loved ones?
    Meaningless words may be of some comfort to some but to others it can just cause more pain than anything else. Do not tell a person in the deepest of pain that he/she must just trust and that Jesus or whoever is their only answer. A tragedy like losing a child is not something to make off with a few Bible verses and empty words, it is one of the biggest traumas to a human being.

  • cheryl says:

    Hi Jamie, have you had a child leave this earth and go home to be with the Lord?
    The bible verse you shared and prayer was lovely but i just feel a little confused why the comment “We need to remember that people are at different places in their life and we need to give them the freedom to express themselves in settings like this” when there have been so many offensive and argumenitive and nasty comments on this website and Patty and I have been the least offensive and only sharing our feelings.
    The question of this article, also can not be answered by people who have not experienced the depths of the pain of loosing a child because previously to losing my child i definately thought i would have answers that i realize now until you have experienced this pain and challenge to doubt God you have no idea how you would react or what it would do to your faith. This is why people who try to help parents who have lost a child and haven’t experenced it themselves really cant answer the initial question of this blog because they do not know what it is like to try to hold onto faith after losing a child because they have not experienced it.

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Thank you Cheryl and Patty for your participation in the conversation here. We need to remember that people are at different places in their life and we need to give them the freedom to express themselves in settings like this. Some comments are going to be more personally helpful than others and we can all choose to read judiciously avoiding those comments that are less helpful. Who knows how someone my gain some special insight through the words that each of us contribute to the conversation.

    I was just talking with some people about a Bible verse today that has been an encouragement to me. It is a promise of God through His servant Jeremiah, “Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose trust IS the LORD. He is like a tree planted by water that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.” (Jeremiah 17:7-8) It reminded me that our source of strength and life is in Jesus. When He is the focus of our trust we can face all manner of sorrows. The question of the article title “How can I have faith after losing my son?” reminds me of Peter’s response to Jesus when He asked His disciples if they too would abandon Him. My heart echoes Peter’s answer, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” (John 6:68) In what else could I put my faith and hope if not in Jesus? He alone is the source of strength, of hope, of life and of love.

    Lord Jesus, I do pray for all who are here who are weighed down by the great grief of losing a child. Help them to make You their trust so that the have the depths of Your infinite love, hope and strength to be rooted in. Help them to bear fruit even in the midst of the heat of their sorrow. Amen.

  • patty says:

    Thank you Cheryl. Philip is the reason why I don’t write on this blog. I used to write cause I needed to hear from other parents who are going thru the same lose of a child. I need support not negative comments . Thank you again

  • Cheryl says:

    i have read so many of Phillips comments and have tried ti figure out his stance on things but honestly i think that christians with wrong theology and wrong comments and perspective of who God really is have lead to Phillips cynical view of God and christianiy.
    And then I also wonder if you all aren’t just a part of keeping this blog interesting and combative, which if you are, I hope God repays you accordingly because parents who are suuffering greatly are pouring their hearts out and their questions about God and frankly if you have not lost a child you should not even post because you are not qualified to respond to the initial question of this blog!

  • Philip Koen says:

    To Ben Eckhoff, Thank you very much for your comment and congratulations, first price goes to you for the christian of the month. It seems you take quite some pride in your summary of a person that you do not know at all, really a highly intelligent and objective post you made.I’m sure that your comment will do so much good for the cause of believers, they must all be very proud to have you in their circle.

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