Gospel Gazette Online
Volume 18 Number 7 July 2016
Page 7

Priscilla's Page Editor's Note

God’s Way for Us to Cope
with Loss, Sorrow and Grief, #12

Loss of Husband

Marilyn LaStrape

When your husband dies, if the relationship was of the quality that God intended when He instituted marriage in the Garden of Eden, your life is irrevocably changed. When I lost my husband in 2013, my world was shattered into a thousand little pieces! My days were spent with him being constantly in my thoughts, no matter who was in my presence or what I may have been doing. I woke up with him; I went to sleep with him. He was in the recesses of my mind every waking moment. My feelings were like being on a roller coaster. They ranged from a calm facing of the reality that he was really gone, to an overwhelming sadness and despair as I contemplated the fact that I would never see him again—not in this life!

I continue to live in God’s Word and believe His promises to turn my journey of mourning to joy, in His time and in accordance with His revealed will. Oh, how I am looking forward to the year when losing the love of my life will be a sweet sadness! “And now, Lord, what do I wait for? My hope is in You” (Psalm 39:7). “My flesh and my heart fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my inheritance forever” (Psalm 73:26).

Decisions That Helped
in My Grieving Process

Things I Have Learned

I fully understand that God is my ultimate source of strength and comfort. I know He is there to console and care for me in this most difficult and dreadful time of my life. Psalm 68:5 says, “Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in His holy habitation.” From my point of view, it doesn’t get any better than that!

What Did Help Me

What Did Not Help Me

Appointments, Notifications and
Phone Calls That Must Be Made

The Biblical Account of a Wife
Losing Her Husband and Sons

One of the major characters in the Book of Ruth is Naomi. Naomi lost her husband Elimelech in the land of Moab. After the death of her husband, Naomi’s two sons married Moabite women. They lived there about 10 years, and then, both sons died (Ruth 1:4-5). Naomi urged her daughters-in-law Ruth and Orpah to return to Moab. She said to them, “Go, return each to her mother’s house. The LORD deal kindly with you, as you have dealt with the dead and with me. The LORD grant that you may find rest, each in the house of her husband. So she kissed them, and they lifted up their voices and wept” (Ruth 1:8-9). Naomi wanted God to grant them days of prosperity and blessing with the families of their future husbands.

Naomi heard that the famine in her country had ended. At this point, Naomi decided to return to Bethlehem in Judah. Ruth and Orpah told Naomi they wanted to go with her, but Naomi said:

Turn back, my daughters; why will you go with me? Are there still sons in my womb, that they may be your husbands? Turn back, my daughters, go – for I am too old to have a husband. If I should say I have hope, if I should have a husband tonight and should also bear sons, would you wait for them till they were grown? Would you restrain yourselves from having husbands? No, my daughters; for it grieves me very much for your sakes, that the hand of the LORD has gone out against me! (Ruth 1:11-13)

Naomi’s statements reflected an attitude of bitterness. Orpah did return to her people, but Ruth was determined to go with Naomi.

Naomi further expressed this attitude of bitterness when she returned to Bethlehem with Ruth. It happened that all the city was excited because of them, and the women were asking if it was Naomi. However, she said to them, “Do not call me Naomi [Pleasant]; call me Mara [Bitter]; for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me. I went out full, and the LORD has brought me home again empty. Why do you call me Naomi, since the LORD has testified against me, and the Almighty has afflicted me?” (Ruth 1:20-21).

In her book, Women of Troubled Times, Cindy Colley wrote, speaking of Naomi:

I believe Naomi had thought ahead about this little speech… Perhaps it was not the first time she had delivered it. But the indictment of the Almighty God, who is the giver of every good and perfect gift (James 1:17), was a pity-party theme that borders on blasphemy. Thankfully, the party was brief and she soon had an outward focus once again. Broadcasting our problems in a spirit of bitterness serves to feed that spirit. It is a call for reinforcements for all that is negative in our lives. (102-103)

When our focus is on the negative, it becomes so easy to develop a bitter spirit. When we do, Satan is right there to help us feed that negative emotion to the zenith! Challenges in life make us bitter or they make us better. Little did Naomi know that God had plans that would change both her life and the life of Ruth forever!

Through the ever present hand of God in His divine providence, Naomi told Ruth precisely what she had to do to become the wife of Boaz who was a near kinsman. In the process of time, Boaz and Ruth were married. “So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife; and when he went in to her, the LORD gave her conception, and she bore a son” (Ruth 4:13).

Naomi was praised by the women of the city. “Then the women said to Naomi, ‘Blessed be the LORD, who has not left you this day without a close relative… And may he be to you a restorer of life and a nourisher of your old age; for your daughter-in-law, who loves you, who is better to you than seven sons, has borne him’” (Ruth 4:14-15). God gave Naomi a new reason for living. “Then Naomi took the child and laid him on her bosom, and became a nurse to him. Also the neighbor women gave him a name, saying, ‘There is a son born to Naomi.’ And they called his name Obed. He is the father of Jesse, the father of David” (Ruth 4:16-17).

Becoming better through adversity is a reoccurring theme throughout the Bible. God always has a goal and a purpose for whatever He does and whatever He allows. He always does what is best for us when we leave the choice to Him. Our part is to persevere in submissive, trusting and strong faith!

Noteworthy Observations
on the Loss of a Husband

The death of a spouse is painful. Whether it’s eating breakfast alone or getting into an empty bed at night, each moment of your day finds a way to remind you that you’re alone and life will never be the same. (Grief Share 37)

Your friends and family may expect you to return to your “old self” after your spouse dies, but you will not be the same, nor should you expect to be. The transition from wife to widow or husband to widower is a painful and personal process. (When a Loved One Dies 8)

Cherish the relationship that you and your husband shared. Be aware of how his love, his presence, changed you, left you a richer, better person. The differences he made in your life are part of his legacy, and you carry that with you always. (Katafiasz)

Works Cited

Colley, Cindy. Women of Troubled Times. Huntsville: Publishing Designs, 2008.

Grief Share: Your Journey from Mourning to Joy. Wake Forest: Church Initiative, 1984.

Katafiasz, Karen. Losing Your Husband. St. Meinrad: Abbey P., 2004.

When a Loved One Dies: Coping with Grief. San Antonio: The USAA Educational Foundation, 2012.


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