In 2010 my big sister, my only sibling, and one of my favorite people in the whole world, lost her battle with cancer. Her death did a number on my faith.
I couldn’t pray.
I couldn’t worship.
I went to church, but I couldn’t sing.
I wanted nothing to do with the Christian radio stations.
I was hurt.
But determined not to stay there because I knew better.
While digging in the archives (I’ve written 1001 blog posts!), I came across a post written in 2011. Here’s a portion:
Grief can set the gears of doubt and frustration in forward movement. Even though God has proven Himself nothing but faithful to me, the “no” answer to restoration of a life on this earth knocked me off my faith horse. I sunk to the depths of asking, “What kind of loving God would do this?”
But I can’t imagine how hopeless I would feel if there were no Jesus….if there had been no sacrifice made on man’s behalf in order to make spending an eternity with our loved ones a possibility. So, even though I’ve struggled with different aspects of my faith, I hold on to Jesus. One friend recently told me as she grieves her mother’s death that she is holding “with tight fists” onto the promises of God. I get it. Amen. You go girl! Tight fists, gritted teeth, stomping feet.
The supernatural world is closer than we think. That becomes obvious to me when I feel the oppression of the enemy pushing on my shoulders trying to convince me I’m not useful to God anymore. My faith has taken a huge blow. I don’t have easy answers. I can’t move mountains of disease and death. Where’s the authority we have in Christ?
Is the death of our beloved just part of the enemy’s scheme to take us out?
Or is it just life?
Is it personal or not?
I was reading in Ephesians this morning. “Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children…” (5:1).There is more to the verse, but I felt the need to just sit here- to bask in the words, “dearly loved children.”
Dearly. Loved. Children.
My heart was strangely warmed by these words. I keep hearing the Lord say, “Stay here. Tell them I love them. They are my beloved.”
The original word in this text is agapetos (ag-ap-ay-tos’). These are the definitions: beloved, dear, and dearly loved. It is difficult to feel dearly loved when your world is crashing around you. But you are. We are.
What difference would it make in your faith and your life if you really believed you are God’s beloved little girl? Cherished….worth dying for….worth living for?
Remember, the enemy of God doesn’t want us to know God’s love. He wants to take us out. He will use whatever means he can. He doesn’t play fair, and he knows our weaknesses. He wants us to doubt the love of God.
Fight back because you are worth it. You are God’s beloved. I promise.
Find a scripture regarding God’s love for you or adopt Ephesians 5:1a. Jab the enemy in the jaw with the Truth. Take him out for a change! Tight fists, clenched teeth, stomping feet.
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Eph. 6:12)
Don’t miss that the struggle is against the spiritual forces of this dark world, not spiritual forces of light. God is not against us.
I believe we stand taller and stronger when we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that we are among the beloved, the agapetos, those dearly loved by God. We can fight better that way. I fight like a girl– a beloved daughter of the King, and I’m proud of it. My sister’s death took me out for a little bit, but I am back stronger, more gracious and understanding of others who are grieving, and full of faith.
Come study 7 Scriptures about the Beloved–about you.
Sneak Peek of Scriptures and Questions/Prompts on Printable
1 John 4: 1-3 Dear friends (beloved), do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3 but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.
➢ Do you ever listen to your emotions more than the Word of God? Anything that tells you God is mad at you or does not love you is not of God.
Ephesians 5:1-2 Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children 2 and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
➢ Who do you have trouble loving? Ask God to help you because the beloved are called to love. 😊
Jude 1:3 Dear friends (beloved), although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt compelled to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people.
➢ How will you “contend for the faith?”
1 John 4:16-17 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus.
➢ Do you know and rely on the love God has for you? If not, write a prayer asking Him to help you receive and experience His love for you.
1 John 3: 1-3 See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2 Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears,[a] we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. 3 All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.
➢ As beloved children, we are to purify ourselves. Write a prayer asking God to reveal any area in your life that needs to be given to Him.
1 Cor. 15:58 Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters (beloved), stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
➢ Don’t give up loving, serving, writing, calling, painting, cooking, sharing, counseling, providing . . . you’re work in the Lord is worth Gold. He doesn’t miss a thing.
Matthew 12:18 “Here is my servant whom I have chosen, the one I love, in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him, and he will proclaim justice to the nations.
➢ Jesus. He proclaimed justice to the nations by dying for us. Amen. The one God loved and delighted in.
Click here to print the scriptures and questions to deepen your time in the Scripture.
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Living as Beloved
Hi Andy, this is a powerfully written post on grief. I’m more acquainted with grief over “living deaths,” in terms of being a child of divorce and emotional abuse survivor. Your heartfelt truths are well spoken and honest about a tough subject. Also–congratulations on 1001 posts! I’ve blogged off and on since 2010, and I’m nowhere near that mark. Yet it’s good to look back as bloggers and see how far we’ve come, isn’t it? Blessings to you!
Hi Sarah! Thanks for stopping by, and thank you for your kind words. Keep on blogging! You’ll hit a 1000 before you know it.
It’s so amazingly beautiful that God used even that pit of grief as curriculum to draw you closer in your understanding of Him. Thank you for sharing gritty grace.
Hi Michele! Thanks for stopping by. Yes, He doesn’t waste anything. He’s a good, good Papa.