Copying with the Loss of Loved Ones
One of the inevitable facets of life that continuously threatens human beings emotionally and spritually is death. Death is when life ceases in an individual. The process is beyond the scope of this discussion as causes vary but the result is the same. While some depart from this world as a result of an accident, for some it is illness (long or short) while for others it is an act of wickedness e.g murder, witchcraft or violence. Nonetheless, for those that die, death is actually good as one enters into rest from the toils of this wicked world. The book of Isaiah testifies of this fact revealing that death is actually an escape from evils that lie ahead (57:1). Furthermore, scripture describes death in some instances as ‘sleep’ which signifies rest as well. Unfortunately, for those left behind, death begins one of the most difficult phases of human existence. One is forced not only to carry on without their loved one but to handle the negative emotions that build up as result of this unwanted loss. The process of grief can become so complicated to the point of threatening the survival of the bereaved. Some of the negative effects of death are
- Change in lifestyle
- Change in living arrangements
- A host of unanswered questions regarding the death which can lead to frustration, confusion and stress or distress and depression
- Strife and misunderstandings based on the deceased estate or inheritance, or even cause of death
- Pressure to revenge or avenge the death
Now these are good breeding ground for negative emotions such as anger, bitterness, unforgiveness, stubbornness and rebellion which is why it is necessary to discuss copying with death in this post. The grief process begins with shock and denial, going onto anger and guilt followed by bargaining then depression and despair which should lead to adjustment and acceptance and finally recovery (Kubler-Ross, 1969). At every stage there is work to be done in processing pain. Allowing the negative feelings and emotions to play out and safely dispose them to enter the next stage until we reach a place of acceptance and then the recovery process can begin. Nothing happens in a day but deliberate effort to heal is key. It should also be worrisome when a particular stage is prolonged as in some cases individuals go through years and years of denial or anger and guilt etc. This can create wounds that may never heal but continue to cause rot on the inside contaminating the spirit and weakening the individual and their ability to cope with life. Consequently they may be an introduction of physical ailments such as clinical depression, panic attacks, heart complications and bitterness which is also highly linked to cancer. It is important to note that skipping a stage is as equally harmful as prolonging one particular stage.
I lost my mother at 33 years of age and unfortunately, the first port of call for me was acceptance. This is the act of acknowledging that the worst has happened but that life continues. I had literally watched my mother take a downward trend healthwise from the year that I got to the knowledge of God to the year that she died. This was about 5years later. My entire faith walk had been wrapped around my mother’s deliverance from an illness we couldn’t understand as she was supposed to be on a deathbed but was up and about till the unfortunate day. For me this was a testimony and I kept imagining a brighter day, a day of full recovery and wholeness. So when the news came I was not shocked but was numb. I did not cry. I was bold and fully saved and assured that all was ‘well with my soul.’ This was the biggest mistake. I did not grieve and when the reality of matter took in some 2weeks later, I was so miserable and dejected. But then I entered a phase of guilt, regretting not ever commanding her body to resurrect in the name of Jesus. “If only I had prayed that prayer, my mother would have risen” I thought, because Christ was in me. Again, this was a big mistake and when this didn’t seem to work, I went into another phase that took months and months. This time I was praying for her resurrection, bargaining with God to perform a 1st kind of miracle in my lifetime of opening the grave and calling forth my mother back into life. This was a beautiful phase as I had beautiful dreams to support this mindset. Dreams that confirmed that my mother was not dead and was alive and that we did not bury her. I believed God with all of my heart and soul as ‘nothing was impossible for him.’ My prayer life went backwards as nothing happened. My relationship with God began to take its toll. I was slowly losing my grip and I was not happy with myself. The day of reckoning came. I had to ask some questions. Did I still want to carryon this walk with Christ? Was my wish more important than the will of God? Was anything worth my relationship with God? I realised that I was in denial and not only that but i had become a god wanting my will done against all the odds! I had not accepted the death of my mother and this had become my idol. An idol that I religiously honoured everyday at the expense of my relationship with God Almighty, my father in heaven. I repented and God started revealing to me some hard truths
- He is the sovereign God who performs his uncontested will (Proverbs 16:1/9/11/33/; 19:21; 21:31)
- Life is his (Deuteronomy 32:39; Isaiah 45:4-7; 1 Sam 2:6
- He is the alpha and the omega so my mothers beginning and end was in him (Revelation 22:13)
- He creates for himself and his purpose not for me and my purpose (Psalm 24:1; 1 Corinthians 10:26; Isaiah 46:10)
- He sets the bounds for every person (Job 14:5; Job 12:10)
- He saves from evil to come Isaiah 57:1.
From the above I learnt that my mother’s death had happened in the bounds of him who starts and ends all. I could see that his will could not be contested and that it was not my wish or purpose that could stand but his. I also understood that God is not unjust or cruel to kill or take away my loved one from me considering that whatever i needed from him was possible by his power and hand e.g healing, deliverance, salvation or redemption of my mother. This meant that, in all of his love for me, if this was the final destination for my mother in her battle for survival, then God in his wisdom had allowed it and that’s how this became his will. As the owner of the breath of life, he had the final say on the exit of his spirit. Without his spirit, there is nolife (Ecclesiastes 12:7).
To add, Isaiah 57:1 records,
This was a liberating portion of scripture in that death emerges as God’s other form of saving his own from evil. In this wicked world, the spirit world is very much active and most times well meaning christians find themselves on the battlefront, sometimes unawares and with no real training to take the hit! It became clear that if one doesn’t have enough spiritual muscle to handle the evil of wickedness because of legal doors open for that sort of activity, death becomes a means of deliverance. We are all products of our parents and their predecessors teachings, doctrines, errors, and cultures. This means that we also catch the network of their curses or blessings. Sometimes and at any age, one can get caught up in spiritual wars activated by generational iniquitous patterns and it seems more reasonable to release one from such suffering when they themselves are not armed but are attracting evil waves.
With this in mind, I had no option but to surrender my ill spirit and broken heart to him. He was well able and ready to accept me and heal me, redeeming me from destruction (psalms 51 & 103). I also learnt that it was a selfish attitude and mindset that led me to denial for so long causing me pain. I was thinking about me, me and me and not stopping even for once to consider the pain of illness my mother had bravely carried to death. She was resting now. Could I not at least appreciate this in honour of her fight to survive anyways? Some may ask how those whose loved ones die in their sleep or get whipped of the face of the earth by an accident may feel about this theme of selfishness. It would be selfish anyway to consider what the creator has done or allowed to happen to his creation as unfair. He knows best and he ought to be trusted even when in pain and understanding is far off. If it fits in the divine rule of God and it has so happened then it is selfish of us to see it otherwise. The act of wanting things our way no matter what- that is selfishness and it is motivated in evil not good. Infact the ‘why me?’ question originates from a prideful spirit and pride. This was the downfall of lucifer who once inhabited the courts of the living God.
Now there was another dimension to my Old Queen’s death (MHDSRIEP). Witchcraft! In all fairness my mother was under torment for years and she herself testified that it was spiritual and warfare for that. We also could see it. We prayed, fasted and ofcourse took the medical route to no avail. There was also a medical route that she refused to partake in maintaining that it was all spiritual. Yes, tales about my mother being killed by her relatives began to emerge after her demise. There was so called proof from consultations with diviners and seers. In a conversation with my grandmother one day, she popped up stories from yet other prophets saying that we did not bury my mother but a log of wood in her place. Apparently occultists can kill and seize the body of their victim spiritually to use for their rituals and all. Worsestill, there were other stories attributed to my mother being a victim of her own occultic escapades. Its was all too much. Too many sides to one coin, 2 sides would have been better!Afterall, my mother was a Catholic Cathechist responsible for teaching converts about Christendom. What was all this? One thing was for sure, it was a carefully calculated move to confuse my young life in the Kingdom of God. Again using the word of God, I understood that the sovereignty of God mattered and his divine rule had prevailed. The means may have used different parties but that which the Lord purposed prevailed as always.
Finally, we can learn a few things from the death of our Lord, Master and Role Model:
- The means to death is not the actual cause: It was not being nailed on the cross that killed Christ. He came to earth bearing the cup of death as God’s plan to redeem mankind (John 19:10-11)
- Time is appointed by God: There was an appointed time to die, attempts to take him out before the time failed. At the right time and for the right (divine) reason, it happened (Job 14:1-6)
- Divine Rule: God’s will prevailed- Christ cried in pain and wanted out. No amount of prayer in the garden or on the cross could save him from that awful death he was facing. He quickly reminded himself of the assignment and said, “nonetheless let your will be done” (Luke 22:42)
- Relationship with God defines the acceptance of divine rule: If Mary the mother of Jesus did not know the God that gave him this powerful child, how many seers would she have visited to determine the cause of the death of such a powerful child of promise or better yet to seek vengeance upon the ‘destiny killers’??? This reminds me of David when his son died. He stopped fasting, bathed, ate and worshipped the Lord. People thought he had lost it but he loved God, trusted him and understood divine rule. (2 Samuel 12:18-20)
- Death a mystery: When addressing the wicked in scripture, the Word (Jesus) uses death to cut them off from the face of the earth. The opposite is God rewarding the righteous with longlife. When a child dies, in which category do they fit in? Perhaps just caught in the crossfire of generational issues mentioned earlier. Its a mystery. Many times people feel sorry for the departed but they are the winners as they escape this wicked world (provided they are saved…) Christ death means life to those who believe and death to those who do not believe. Physical death therefore is not death, it is passing on to glory where we will meet again. This is the mystery. As it were, death where is your sting? ( 1 Corinthians 15:55-57)
In conclusion therefore, death is real and its a mystery that can never be fully understood but we can rest in trusting God himself the all-wise one. God the owner of life and all things made it this way. If you are in a sound relationship with God, what is left is to hold on to his peace like Mary and trust him as you go ahead without your loved one. Let it be a point of honouring God and celebrating the life of loved ones. It need not be our point of entry into hell by selfish thoughts, harbouring negative emotions and entertaining spirits of negativity as if we own the people we lost or the world. We do not even own ourselves. As we do this, we cannot access heaven. This not only opens a door for demonic manipulations and torment but impacts one’s own life in a bad way and threatens one’s own existence. What is it worth? In a life full of opportunities and possibilities I exhort you to riseUP, shake the dust and move on! That loved one you lost, had a life apportioned to them and they had the chance to live it as they wanted or only up to the day accorded and afforded them by God Almighty in his great wisdom and divine rule. Their death cannot continue to control your life all the way to your own grave. Do not make them an idol. Do not exalt them over God. They are the creation. Honor the creator and submit to him for healing. LIVE!
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falling is not the problem, failing to riseUP is!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!