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

  • Cheryl says:

    Jack Jesus made it very clear that there is no way to the Father (eternal Life) except through the Son. Jesus said I am the way, the truth and the life and no one comes to the Father except through Me. He was also clear that He who rejects me rejects the Father so I’m not sure why you think this is not in the bible.However, God is so Loving that He made this possible for every one. We can not earn our way to heaven. God is a Holy, God and demands Holiness to enter His presence,

    Know we have a sin nature like Adam (being his descendants) God knew this was impossible for us to achieve that is why He sent His Son to be the sacrifice for our sins. Why is just believing in Jesus enough- because it says it all when we believe-it says I know I an a sinner and I know i need a savoir, just believing is the very act of repentance.

    Can we keep the law, no! the law was sent to show us our need for a savoir. The good news is (that too many churches distort)mis that it has all been paid by Jesus sacrifice at calvary! I just do not understand why anyone would reject His free gift unless its pride. Pride that i’m a good person and don’t need a savoir.

    Our good works are like filthy rags. compared to holiness they are nothing. so i am confused why any one would turn down Gods free gift to inherit righteousness and eternal life.

  • Tom Tom says:

    Jack–
    You are right when you say we could go on and on. But that’s because I believe what the Bible says and you do not. I therefore have to wonder where you get your spiritual beliefs in the first place, and how you can possible know any of them are true.

    As for your unfounded statement, “It’s not only not in the Bible but it’s not in any writings of the early church fathers in the first 2 centuries”, how do you explain James 2:10 which I’ve already quoted here but do so again–“For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all.”

    I’ll stick with the Bible as the basis of truth. I wonder what your basis of truth is?

  • Jack says:

    Tom, I did reply in a very lengthy response shortly after yours but the webmaster deleted it, perhaps because we’d gotten so far off the topic. That’s why you see a short post correction from me right above yours “Correction: What they NEED is Jesus as a role model.” Sorry. Would have made for an interesting discussion.

  • Tom Tom says:

    Jack–
    So, are you going to respond to the various points?
    How can Jesus be a role model if we can’t believe a word he said from the (according to you) error-filled Bible?

  • Jack says:

    Correction: What they NEED is Jesus as a role model.

  • Jack says:

    Tom, once again respectfully, I’m not concerned with most of what you warned me about. It’s fundamentalist dogma and I’m a liberal and never the twain shall meet. You ask for a lot and I’ll try to answer as best I can just this once: the “have you done this, then you’re guilty of” stuff is straight out of the Ray Comfort/Eric Hovind playbook. I’ve watched the videos on YouTube. It’s a trick to get people to believe they are guilty of endless sin and need Jesus for forgiveness. What they is Jesus as a role model for how they should behave in this life and accept that Jesus was a ransom for them. That’s all. Everything has been paid for by his death; no penalty is owing and the Bible is filled with verses that say just that. I don’t have to list them. We owe God nothing except to be thankful and then be good moral people and treat one another as we would want to be treated. That’s all God expects of us. You’re bringing theology into this so I will ad a disclaimer most apologists don’t want uninformed people to know: The theology that

    “God is an infinite God, and being infinitely holy and just automatically makes sin also an infinite crime against God which deserves infinite punishment in the fires of hell”

    can be found nowhere in the Bible. It is a man-made construct. Early church leaders were faced with how to answer pagans when they asked, “Why should we suffer eternally for sins we commit in 20 years of life here on earth?” It was an intelligent question and the church leaders scratched their heads and got together with each other and said among themselves, “These idiot pagans are a lot smarter than we gave them credit for. How are we going to explain to them that a few sins earns them an eternity in hell?” One of them said, “I’ve got it! We tell them that because God is infinite then all sin is infinite as well. And if sin is infinite then the penalty of suffering in fire is also infinite.” Remember, running side-by-side with this dogma was Purgatory where if you died with unconfessed venial (small) sin you’d burn for awhile and then get out and go to heaven. Protestantism did away with Purgatory and made all sin equally bad. Even if I died with only an unconfessed white lie I’d still merit eternal suffering in hell under Protestant doctrine. Does that sound insane to you or what! So what you’re telling me is doctrine that evolved over about 1400 years of church history from 3rd century CE to 1700 AD. It’s not only not in the Bible but it’s not in any writings of the early church fathers in the first 2 centuries. I could go on and on and on correcting your theology but I can’t. There’s just no space and this is a forum to comfort Christie and other women who have lost children. Let’s keep it there and not get distracted in a debate about theology. Blessings.

  • Tom Tom says:

    Jack—
    Let’s remove Adam’s first sin from the picture for a moment. Now try to imagine perfection, sinlessness, and holiness. (We can’t get too good a picture of that because we’ve never come close to anything like it—but try.) That would be a picture of God. Now let’s see how you fair against that picture. How many lies have you told in your life? A hundred? A thousand? How many things have you taken that didn’t belong to you? One? Ten? How many times have you looked at someone with a lustful thought? (Jesus said that is the same as committing adultery.) How many times have you gotten angry with someone without knowing all the facts? Maybe you’ve called someone a jerk, a fool, or an idiot. Jesus said that was the same as committing murder. Ever used God’s name in vain, without reverence and holiness? Ever said, “Oh, my G—“? That’s blasphemy against God’s holy and perfect name. How many times did you disobey your parents? Have you always kept one day a week as holy to God? Always kept God first in your life?

    Let’s say you’ve sinned just once a day and you’re 20-years old. Let’s see—that’s 7,300 sins against Almighty God!! I’d say that’s a far cry from being “not guilty” before God. You mention you’ve never been guilty of a crime you could be convicted of; but God says in James 2:10, “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all.”

    So forget Adam if you wish. Just like every human being that’s ever lived, save Jesus Christ, you’ll stand guilty before a perfect, holy God on judgment day.

    As for your other comments:
    1) Please name some errors in the Bible.
    2) If the Bible is filled with errors, how do you know which portions are “decent?” Or are those just the things you like and discard the things you don’t like? (By the way, that’s breaking another of God’s commandments—the second. You’re making a false god to suit yourself.)
    3) You are right—God will judge you by what you have done to your fellow man. Second Corinthians 5:10 says, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” Ever lied to someone? Ever taken something that belonged to someone else? Ever lusted after someone;s wife? Ever hated someone? In God’s economy, you’ve treated your fellow man with contempt and will be judged accordingly.
    4) You say you live by a certain passage in Matthew. How do you know that isn’t one of the Bible’s so-called errors?
    5) You say, “If it’s good enough for Christ, it’s good enough for me.” Jesus said, “If you lust, it’s adultery. If you hate or get angry without cause, it’s murder.” Is that good enough for you also?

    Jack, I’m very concerned for you because it’s obvious you are one as described in Romans 2:5—“ But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God.” Unless you see your true self in the light of a perfect and holy God, you will perish.

  • Philip Koen says:

    Jack’s comment sums up believers objectivity the best: “There are plenty of errors in the Bible but I pick the decent stuff and ignore the rest” How anybody can live like this is beyond any logic, don’t people feel that they need to be honest to themselves?

  • Jack says:

    Respectfully, Tom, I don’t see why I have to be condemned for something that Adam did 6000 years ago. What he did is his business, not mine; he’s culpable before God; I am not. I’ve never committed a crime I could be convicted for, I’ve never intentionally harmed a person, I live and let live and respect other peoples’ rights to do the same. I think that classifies me as not an evil person. The small stuff I don’t sweat over i.e. telling a white lie, having an occasional lustful thought (that just shows I’m normal and not aberrant) and I’m sure God doesn’t concern Himself with that piddly stuff either; He’s got more important things to worry about. So, yes I am a good person despite what the Bible says about “none are good”. That’s just guilt-trip stuff churchmen laid on heathens back in the 2nd Century or so to get them to convert to Christianity. As you can tell I’m liberal and I don’t go for all the “inerrant Word of God” business. There are plenty of errors in the Bible but I pick the decent stuff and ignore the rest. I’m certain God will judge me on the merits of how I treated my fellow man and nothing else. I live by Matthew 25:31-46 and nothing else. If it’s good enough for Christ it’s good enough for me. The rest is just white noise.

  • Tom Tom says:

    Jack–
    It is impossible to completely understand an infinite God. If we could, he wouldn’t be God.

    One thing you mentioned–“You’re putting the blame completely on people such as myself and others who have never rejected God or done evil yet live with the consequences of evil just like all good people do.” I think Christie is pointing out that every person must admit that they have their own portion of sin guilt. While you may use the term “good people,” God says, “There is none that are righteous, no not one.” He says, “We all like sheep have gone astray.” Have you ever told a lie, stolen something, or had a lustful or hateful thought? Then you’ve been disobedient to God–“done evil”–and are a part of the overall evil in the world. Until we recognize that, we’ll always have the tendency to try to put the blame on someone else, in particular God. In Adam, we are all culpable.

  • Jack says:

    Christie, first let me say how sorry I am for your loss. Second, please think about this: I also believe God doesn’t condone the world being the way it is. Where I feel your reasoning derails is at “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.” You’re putting the blame completely on people such as myself and others who have never rejected God or done evil yet live with the consequences of evil just like all good people do. In doing so, you completely wash God of any responsibility for what happened to your Noah. Jesus healed Jarius’ daughter. He could heal millions of dying children right this moment but he chooses not to. Why, I cannot say; I just know he has the power to and if he did it once he could do it again. I get angry when I read platitudes like, “God knows your pain. He weeps with you right alongside you.” Knowing that God had the power to heal my child and yet He weeps for my loss makes about as much sense to me as a criminal weeping for me as he pulls the trigger on the gun that takes my life. I think the road to healing starts with realizing that some children die and some live and only God knows why. Once we accept that it is God’s responsibility to heal the child and He chooses not to and that there isn’t a single reason why this child died and that child lived then we can move forward after accepting the fact that tragedy happens to Christians, Muslims, Hindu’s Buddhists alike and good things happen to them as well. Such is the world we live in and we have to learn to accept that fact and then move forward with our lives. God bless you. Take care.

  • Elkay says:

    Kim, I am very sorry about the way you lost your parents and I am not sure that keeping their illnesses from you was the best decision. Your knowing that you need God to get through this is the key to doing exactly that. As you grow older, you will find that life can be very complex and without answers and that is why faith in a sovereign God who formed us and placed us in the amazing cosmos we live in is essential.

    Scripture teaches us that He is the sovereign King who rules over the entire universe (Ps. 135:6). As a result, we are under His authority, whether or not we choose to follow Him. Next, through His death and resurrection, Jesus saved us from our sin and its consequences. Therefore, we are indebted to Him more than we could ever repay. And finally, He sustains us. We should consider each breath and heartbeat a gift from Him. I would ask you to read and meditate upon Col 1:9-18.

    The Father promises that following Him leads to hope and an established future. Psalm 31:19 states, “How great is Your goodness, which You have stored up for those who fear You …” So, while He is the Almighty with authority over every aspect of our life, mysterious as it may be, He promises to care for us and to do what will benefit us most, frequently in ways we do not understand.

    As you continue to struggle with your parent’s deaths, perhaps it would be beneficial to engage one of our mentors who will come alongside you in confidence and walk with you. If you think so, just hit the “talk to a Mentor” button on this page and someone will reply by email.

    May God bless you today with exactly what you need today.

  • Philip Koen says:

    To Kim: So sorry to read about your loss and pain and nothing that I can say will make it easier but I just want to say is please just try and stay strong and do not feel guilty or whatever about you being angry at your God. I myself do not believe in any god or deity that plays a part in anything that happens to us but if you do believe in something like that it is all good, please just do not let your belief interfere with your mourning process or make you to feel guilty because you feel let down by your god.
    You are still very young, just be strong and grab life and try and get from it whatever you can.

  • Kim says:

    I’m 22 years old and about to begin my third year in college. I am studying abroad and left home in 2014. I lost my dad in April,he was ill for a short time and my family kept his illness from me in an attempt to protect me. It was tough and I had to travel back home for his funeral,it was so hard to say goodbye and the last time I had seen him alive was the day I left for school back in 2014. I returned to school about a month later in the middle of May. My mum was all I had left I struggled to pray and was angry with God but she was my rock and prayed for me and encouraged me. She fell ill a few times but no one told me again because they were trying to protect me,my mum passed away at the end of June. I’ve been broken since,I can’t pray but I know I need God to get through this but I feel like He shouldn’t have let this happen to me in such a short space of time. I went home again to bury her and I’m back at school now with no parents and I don’t even know where to start. I’m still at the phase of being angry with God and asking him why he took both of them away when I still needed them.

  • Brandi says:

    I lost my baby girl 18 years ago I was young and grew up in a very hard life. Some would say that it should have drove me to the gutter the things I endured. I struggled to understand what love was due to the things that had occurred by a person who was suppose to love me unconditionally but stole my innocence. I chose to forgive him after the death of my little girl. I chose because she was a gift of life and love in which I had never felt and it drove my whole life into a direction of love and compassion. I always believed in God even though I had never been to church in my life. I believed because in so many dark painful nights I saw a presence in the room with me comforting my pain. Maybe I fabricated this being to endure the pain. But in my heart he was there. I knew who he was even though I was not introduced to who he was until much later in my life. The reason I searched this after so many years is because I now have 2 healthy boys now and every time my youngest son gets sick I have this uncontrollable fear that God is going to take him from me. I can’t shake it and I can’t breathe thinking that I could lose him. I have no idea how to come to heads with my faith that it is his will and I have to trust that. I am terrified it will be his will to take him. I tried talking to a therapist but this is a question of faith.

  • Sharon says:

    to Janet my sympathy to you on the death of your son how sad for you. I am sure the people meant well but they should of never said it. it is OK to doubt. in the bible it says this man said about when his son was dying I believe help my unbelief and I am sure JESUS doubted when he died to take our sins away. HE loves you. you are good enough. I don’t why your son died I know people whose the child died before them I don’t why that happens. I question that too myself sometimes. I feel so sad for you. I pray that GOD comforts you at this time. I am sooo sorry for your loss. sharon

  • Cheryl says:

    Janet, I am so sorry to hear about your son. You unfortunately are very early into this debilitating greiving. Those who have not lost children really can not understand the pain. Jesus loves you and your son intensely and His blood that He shed for us cleanses us of all our sins past, present and future.
    I can not tell you why God does not intercede at times. I struggle too with why my son who went home at 20. I know we live in a fallen world and a world of free choice but I thought as a beleiver I would be spared this tragedy and my son as well. I realize I am probably never going to get all these answers this side of heaven but I am confident that God loves me and me son and my son is in paradise with Jesus and I will be with him again one day.
    I know many parents who have pulled away from God and they are not doing well. Some of them 9 years later can still hardly function. The only thing bigger than our problems and greif is God I would encourage you to let Him know your feelings He already knows your in pain and have doubts. Just be honest with Him. He wants to comfort you. Also be kind to yourself and patient with your self. Greif is exhausting.
    I would really recommend the Missfoundation-great support there. And Josephprince.org for the only ministry that i’ve heard that understand the Grace of God and the Finished work at the cross.
    Hugs to you friend.

  • You see noone has to go through that the lonleness the comfusement the fear and the sadness im speachless the only one thing i can say is SORRY god is with him with a loving hand and to take him home with the rest of the beautiful angels

  • Philip Koen says:

    Janet. So sorry to hear of your loss, it can never be easy to lose a child. But please do not punish yourself with your thoughts about you not being good enough or that your son is not at peace etc. You are just making it worse and more difficult for yourself.
    Janet’s post is exactly what I was trying to say all the time, that believing in a God can do more harm than good, it can put such a burden on people. Here is a woman that mourns the passing of her son yet her belief in a supernatural being who is supposed to help and love her is causing her more pain. Why do it to yourself? I have seen too many cases like this where people destroyed themselves with thoughts like this. Please do not do this.
    Janet, please stop with torturing yourself with your thoughts, do not blame yourself and please do not worry that your son is not at peace or not with “him” Nobody called him home or whatever, unfortunately it is just life and it is painful enough as it is, there is no reason or purpose whatsoever with his death.
    Cherish the good times you and your son had but put the idea out of your head that you are somehow to blame. Be strong.
    I know that a lot of people will now jump up and down, attacking me or my views with Bible verses etc but it is ok, it is not about me or about what I or whoever belief, it is about a mother who mourns the passing of her young son and who is punishing herself with her thoughts.

  • cindy says:

    Lost my mom three weeks it is very hard to deal with i pray for help everyday and take away the angry in me and the hurt .

  • Janet says:

    Condolences to all. I also lost my beautiful son Nolan he was 23 years old and drowned in a lake. He past June 17 2016. Four days before his birthday. There is not a single day that I havent cried for him. I believe in God and I questioned why he didnt save him. Like he was punishing me because I am not good enough or I wasnt close enough to him. I worry that my son isnt at peace and with him. But i try to remember that is why Jesus came to die so our sins would be forgiven. I pray I will be with him one day. People tell me God called him home and it was his time..it is really hard to except when they are so young..You never expect to go before..I hurt so bad and my heartaches for him. I hope God forgives me at times my doubt..i pray for more faith..and the grace of God to forgive my sins

  • John says:

    Sorry to hear about your loss. I lost my mother 3 years ago. I was her caregiver for 7 years. Have you heard of “Grief Share”? It’s a 12 week course of people who have lost loved ones. Many churches sponsor the group meetings. You can Google Grief Share to find their web site. Just put in your zip code and you’ll find meetings in your area. This is an excellent group for anyone who has suffered the loss of a loved one.

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Oh Janis, I am so sorry to hear about your tragic loss. Dear friends of mine lost their son to a long battle with depression 2 and a half years ago, and I agree with Philip that it is one of the most difficult things for a parent to go through. Let me pray for you: Dear Jesus, You are the God of all comfort and I pray for Janis and her family as they mourn the loss of their beloved Benjamin, that You would be their comfort. I am grateful that You understand our grief because You too have suffered greatly and know the pain of great loss. I pray that You would carry Janis through these dark days, and guide her steps in a time when I am sure everything seems so overwhelming. Bring people around her who will help support, care and love her. Give her safe places to share her grief, her anger, her confusion. And let her know the strength of Your presence with her through it all. Amen.

    Janis, do you have people in your life who you trust to talk about your loss with? I would like to invite you to connect with one of our mentors. They are safe people who would love to come alongside and walk with you through your grief. Just fill out the Mentor Request Form at http://powertochange.com/discover/talk-to-a-mentor/ and one of our mentors will be in touch with you soon by email.

  • Philip Koen says:

    So sorry to read about this terrible tragedy, the suicide of a child is one of the most traumatic experiences ever. There is nothing that anyone can do or say to make it easier but just know there are people out there who think of you and feel for you.
    Wish there was something that I could do to ease the pain. My greatest sympathy.

  • Tom Tom says:

    Janis–
    Clarifying: Something sudden and out of the blue, or was their something long-term involved?

  • Tom Tom says:

    Janis–
    My heartfelt sympathies to you. Was this something sudden?

  • Janis says:

    My beautiful son Benjamin took his life June 14, 2016.

  • Tom Tom says:

    Cindy–
    Thank you for your spot-on observations.

    Romans 2:5 and following tells us about those who self-righteously deny God and who do not respect him, “But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who will render to each person according to his deeds: to those who by perseverance in doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life; but to those who are selfishly ambitious and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, wrath and indignation.”

    Webster’s: Fear=”Respectful dread; awe; reverence. A feeling of uneasiness or apprehension; concern.” These are the things we feel when we know we are standing in the presence of omniscience, omnipotence, and omnipresence. We do not take God lightly. Oh how I pity those who do.

  • Philip Koen says:

    Cindy: Did god tell you all this when he peeped from behind Sharon’s scene? One of the sickest things about religion is the “fear” of god but if one looks at his actions as described in the Bible I can understand that you fear him.

  • Cindy says:

    Phillip- The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Mans wisdom is foolishness to God. His ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts. You’d do well to stop and think about what your doing which is rebellion and you are hurting yourself far more than you are trying to hurt people who trust respect and obey The Lord God Almighty. And we do not cast pearls before swine so if you reject what Christians are trying to tell you just know there will be a time they will move on from you and from what I’m reading it ought to be NOW.

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