With tearsÂ brimming she explained how she was beginning to see God in the midst of dealing with her son’s death.Â And although she couldn’tÂ get throughÂ the readingÂ herself, she urged one of the women at our table to read us an excerpt from a little book she was holding close. We listened intently because our dear friend wasÂ suffering and whatever she wanted us to hear was, in my estimation, going to hurt that goodÂ kind of hurt.
The author wrote of a grateful woman who had the bountiful blessings of a good husband and a sweet child. Her life was beautiful and she knew to Whom allÂ her thanksgiving belonged. She praised God every day for all of His gifts to her. One day her child grew ill and despite her earnest prayers for his healing, he died.
She cried out to her Maker, the Giver all good gifts.Â Why had He allowed this terrible tragedy to happen to her?Â How could the loving God she has worshipped and honoured with her thanksÂ turn so cruel? The reading went on to point out just Who the womanÂ had beenÂ worshiping.
Was God was still sovereign, still loving, still giving, still powerful,Â whether her son lived or died? When she was giving thanks for her life, and praising this incredible Lord,Â had she considered that if things changed in her life thatÂ it would change who God is? HadÂ HeÂ changed or had herperceptionÂ of who He is changed? Could she say, “Blessed be the Name of the Lord”, if He gave or took away? Had the merciful act of sending His only Son to rescue the world, disintegrated into nothing because ofÂ earthly pain? Is it God’s intention to bestow continuous blessings upon His people and make them happy?
My heart beat quickly as theÂ excerpt wasÂ finished. The words hung in the air like a damp fog. Some of the women were nodding, others, I’m sure, were soaking in the profound simplicity of this truth that hurt that good hurt–the comfort–and pain of knowing we’re not in control. Our friend tucked the book back in her purse and thanked us for obliging her.
I swallowed the lump in my throat and among others, thanked her for sharing what ourÂ faith is built upon. She explained that had she not received the knowledge of God’s immutable character into her heart years before, she would have surely turned fromÂ Him at this time of great grieving. I whisperedÂ thanksgiving in my spiritÂ that the same truth my friend confessed, had helped meÂ see God’s love and mercy in the midst of greatÂ pain and confusion I hadÂ suffered through atÂ a difficult time in my life. I prayed for even greater acceptance of His unchanging love so that He would be glorified in whatever future trials I would encounter. My friend’s life is an example of just that–glorifying the Father in herÂ story–which, in turn, is giving her peace.
Later,Â I sat with my children close byÂ me on the couchÂ while I continued our “read-aloud”,Â Little Pilgrim’s Progress,Â a children’s version of JohnÂ Bunyan’sÂ classic work.Â “Little Christian” was witnessing hisÂ companion, “Faithful”, being bravely martyred for Christ and I began to weep. The words blurred on the page and my two big girls cried too. I breathed deeply and slowly finished the paragraph. Oh, how I longed for them to receive this incredible insight I had been grasping! Jesus’ gift of His death on the cross was worth believing in, living for and even dying for. It’s this foundational truth that they can hang their hope on, that will help them get through any struggle–not easily–but with peace and eventually,Â joy.
Since my CreatorÂ often feeds me HisÂ truth in threes, I shook my head as once again,Â the message of His resurrection stirredÂ even more in my heart. These words in John Piper’s book,Â Don’t Waste Your Life,Â blazed brightly today:Â “… all your rejoicing in all things should therefore be a rejoicing in the cross where all your blessings were purchased for you at theÂ costÂ of the death of the Son of God, Jesus Christ… One of the reasons we are not as Christ-centered and cross-saturated as we should be is that we have not realized that everything–everything good, and everything bad that God turns for the good of his redeemed children–was purchased by the death of Christ for us. We simply take life and breath and health and friends and everything for granted. We think it is ours by right.” (p51).
This is what this dear momma was humbly offering to us. Although, sheÂ cried out and questioned God, herÂ Â belief in theÂ immutable character of a loving God, who gave His only Son,Â was the only thing that kept her from drowning in sorrow.Â He alone is in control, but praise God, He is deeply in love with His people!Â
As Easter approaches, my heart is ever closer to the knowledge of who He is and why He came and how Jesus’ resurrection offers the ability to live knowing we are loved,Â regardless of what this worldÂ may bring. And ultimately, we will receiveÂ eternal life, where we willÂ glorify theÂ OneÂ fromÂ Whom all gifts–the good–and the bad that God turns for the good–are given.Â Â