Friday, July 23, 2010

Friday's Faith - When Assumptive Beliefs COLLIDE with Reality in Child-Loss

Friday's Faith

When Assumptive Beliefs


With Reality in Child-Loss

The grief and trauma therapist said to us two weeks ago today,

When your child dies or is killed, your "Assumptive Beliefs" have been VIOLATED!

Have you questioned God about why your child died or was killed?

Have you wondered if God was punishing you for having done something wrong?

Have your former beliefs of "being protected" been challenged, shot in the heart by your child's death?

What do we do when our Assumptive Beliefs about God, Our Children, and Their Safety COLLIDE with Reality?

I was reading a Child-Loss Mother's blog* today. This precious mother said that she had an unspoken, one-sided contract with God I'll take all the sickness and pain onto me so that my children will stay safe:

"If it had to be someone in my family that was sick, I wanted it to be me. I felt that I had an unspoken pact with God that any suffering to befall my family should come to me.

"I never shared my feelings about my pact with anyone. I held it close as my way of keeping my children from harm. Like most parents I wanted my children protected and free from as much danger and pain as possible. Even those times when I was faced with death, I knew should anything happen to me, I had no doubt that Mark would love and care for our children. My silent pact boiled down to its essence simply put was, 'let it be me.'"

She silently held onto this belief that gave her a "sense of control" in protecting her children. Then the police showed up at her door...

"I know how foolish, superstitious and naïve I was to believe that I could have a contract with God that included an immunity clause for my children. It was still the deal that I wanted. I was to be the sponge that dealt with pain, my children would be spared. Intellectually I knew every time I whispered, ("I'm) glad it’s me and not the kids,” that I was operating under an illusion of control. There are no deals with God and he doesn’t offer immunity clauses. The fierceness of my Mother Love however, prevailed over logic and reason. Time and time again I truly believed that I was cocooning my children from harm. 'Let it be me.'

"Then the illusion that was my pact shattered. Our phone rings late at night and two police officers come to our door telling us the words no parent wants to hear. Our son was dead. Jordan was killed in a car accident. He was gone and all of the notions I had about my accumulated pain and suffering being the buffer that would provide my family some immunity from further tragedy was nullified."

All at once, amidst her devastation, she realized the impotence of those silent wishes with which she had hoped God would comply. For some reason, God didn't. It didn't happen...

~Quotes from blog:


I read another mother's blog** today. Another child-loss mother who for twenty years has suffered with the haunting taunts by her (now ex-) husband that their two-year-old son being killed was all her fault. And she herself had taunted herself with two major sins she had committed -- would her sins have caused God to rip this child from her breast? she wondered. Her assumptive belief was along the lines of

If I had led an upright Christian life with which God could have been pleased, then this tragedy would not have happened.

Then, to my horror and disbelief, I read the comments that followed beneath her post. And a person who claimed to be a strong Christian piled on to this precious child-loss mother's fears by telling her, in effect,

Yes, it is your fault. You committed such horrific sins, why wouldn't God take your child; after all, that is what you deserve.


When I read this today, I was horrified, hurting for this mother already steeped in her own pain, only to suffer a blog-compatriot coming along by her side to dump the burning lava of condemnation into her lap, even worse, upon her already bleeding heart and war-torn soul...

Paraphrased from ~ Blog, "I Am Barking Mad":


I too have asked God questions. I had such complete trust in Him that He would keep my child safe, that when I discovered she had been killed, my first question to God was,

Were You looking the other way?!
Did You not see this coming?

assured that if He had, He would have stopped it. Like me, her mother, if He had known deadly danger was coming, He surely would have intervened, thrown a "pillow of protection" down to cushion her fall. After all, I knew He loved her at least as much as I did, indeed, even more... But it did not happen. God did not break her fall, and she was killed...


Our "Assumptive Beliefs"

  • What we think we can predictably count on to happen in this world,
  • What we assume will be true of God's character,
  • What we assume to be true about our child's safety

are challenged, if not blown to bits, by the death of our child.

We are left in a vulnerable position to begin to put the pieces of our spiritual foundation back together at a time when we most need that foundation to be as solid as a rock.


In the Bible, the book of Job tells us so much about suffering as we watch Job, a man of God, go through deep losses.

Job was "blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil. He had 7 sons and 3 daughters, and he owned 3,000 camels, 500 yoke of oxen, 500 donkeys, and had a large number of servants. He was the greatest man among all the people of the East."

Job, like us, had assumptive beliefs:

After every party Job's children would throw, Job would ask God to purify them. He would get up the next morning and sacrifice a burnt offering for each of his children, for each of his seven sons, for each of his three daughters, thinking,

"Perhaps my children have sinned and cursed God in their hearts."

The Bible says that this sacrifice for each child was a regular custom of Job's. Was this his protective safety-net for his children?

One day, Job's children all met together at the oldest brother's house for a family celebration when a messenger came to Job and said,

"The oxen were plowing and the donkeys were grazing nearby, and the Sabeans attacked and carried them off. They put all of your servants to the sword, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you."

While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said,

"The fire of God fell from the sky and burned up the sheep and the servants, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you."

While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said,

"The Chaldeans formed three raiding parties and swept down on your camels and carried them off. They put your servants to the sword, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you."

While he was still speaking, yet another messenger came and said,

"Your sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother's house, when suddenly a mighty wind swept in from the desert and struck the four corners of the house. It collapsed on them, and they are dead, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you."

Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said,

"Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. May the name of the Lord be praised."

In today's lingo, we would probably be tempted to declare that Job must be in a state of shock to be able to worship God at such a time!

After all these tragedies, Job's problems escalated. He developed

"painful sores from the soles of his feet to the top of his head."

At first Job accepted the painful burden even as he sat among the ashes.

His wife could not believe he could just accept all this misery so she said,

"Are you still holding on to your integrity? Curse God and die!"

But Job did not.

Then, just like the "friends" coming alongside in today's blog, Job's 3 best friends agreed to go and sympathize with him and comfort him.

"When they saw him they began to weep aloud, and they tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads."

Then they sat with Job in silence for 7 days and 7 nights.

"No one said a word to him because they saw how great his suffering was."

(Good job so far! But hold on, Job's friends begin to turn on him like the blogger's "friend" in the blog I read today began to cruelly turn on her.)

Like the blogger, Job was in touch with his pain and began to turn on himself. He cursed the day of his birth...

Then the first friend spoke up to Job with his faulty assumptive belief and dumped it into Job's already tortured lap with the same sentiment as the blogger "friend" I read today that

"If evil has happened to you, you must have done some horrible deeds to deserve it!"

"Consider now. Who being innocent has ever perished?

Where were the upright ever destroyed?

As I have observed, those who plow evil and those who sow trouble reap it.

At the breath of God they are destroyed; at the blast of His anger they perish."

All three friends ultimately piled guilt onto Job's head, in essence saying,

Surely, he deserves such punishment.

Job first said he wished he could speak to the Almighty, to argue his case with God.

But to his friends, he lashed out:

"You however smear me with lies; you are worthless physicians, all of you. If only you would be altogether silent! For you, that would be wisdom.
"Hear now my argument; listen to the plea of my lips. Will you speak wickedly on God's behalf? Will you speak deceitfully for Him? Would it turn out well if He examined you? Could you deceive Him as you might deceive men?"

Then Job proclaimed,

"Though He slay me, yet will I hope in Him; I will surely defend my ways to His face."

He later said to his "friends,"

"How long will you torment me and crush me with words?"

Job eventually asked a question of God very similar to my own to God:

"Does He not see my ways and count my every step?"

Finally, the Lord answers Job...but not really with answers. God told Job,

"Brace yourself like a man;
I will question you and you shall answer Me."

Chapters 38 through 41 of Job found in the Old Testament of the Bible reveals God's amazing words mostly questions to Job...

Then, after God talks to Job, showing His own true character (similar to what God does for me in the throes of my grief and despair), Job replies an amazing response...

"My ears had heard of You

but now my eyes have seen You.

Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes."

Blog One*

Blog Two*


Job ~the entire book found in the Old Testament in the Bible


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