Goodness and Grace in the Grief

imageToday, February 21, 2017, marks 4 years since my sweet mama went home to meet Jesus.

In some ways it seems like just yesterday. In many ways it seems like it’s been forever.

There’s not a day that goes by where I don’t think of her and long for her. We shared a very special relationship that I will forever cherish.  We were best friends.

Grief lingers. Grief hurts unimaginably. Grief robs happiness. Grief separates friends. Grief brings distress. Grief changes us.

I can truly say that my grief has changed me in deep ways. I am not the same person as I was before. Through my grief, I have come to love Jesus in a way I had only longed for and imagined prior to Mom’s death.

I read this question this week from one of my favorite books, New Morning Mercies, by Paul Tripp -“When hardship comes your way, will you tell yourself it’s a tool of God’s grace and a sign of his love, or will you give in to doubting his goodness?”

For several months after losing Mama, I battled intensely with doubting God’s goodness to me. Nothing about suicide grief immediately feels like a tool of God’s grace and a sign of His love. Absolutely nothing feels good. The hurt is overwhelming.

But through the past four years, I have come to believe these words of truth written by Paul Tripp –

“Right here, right now, God isn’t so much working to deliver to you your personal definition of happiness. . .What he has promised you is HIMSELF and what he brings to you is the zeal of his transforming grace. No, he’s not first working on your happiness; he’s committed to your holiness. That doesn’t mean he is offering you less than you’ve hope for, but much, much more. In grace, he is intent on delivering you from your greatest, deepest, and most long-term problem: sin. He offers you gifts of grace that transcend the moment, that literally are of eternal value. He has not unleashed his power in your life only to deliver to you things that quickly pass away and have no capacity at all to satisfy your heart.

This means that often when you are tempted to think that God is loving you less because your life is hard, he is actually loving you more. The hardships that you are facing are the tool of his exposing, forgiving, liberating, and transforming grace. These hard moments aren’t in your life because God is distant and uncaring, but rather because he loves you so fully. These moments become moments of faith and not doubt when by grace you begin to value what God says is truly valuable.

Could it be that all of those things that come your way that confuse you and that you never would’ve chosen for yourself are God’s tools to build your faith? By progressive transforming grace, he is enabling you to live the brand-new life he calls all of his children to live–the Godward life for which you were created.

We can experience peace in the face of the unknown. We can feel an inner well-being while living in the middle of mystery. Why? Because our peace of heart does not rest on how much we know, how much we have figured out, or how accurately we have been able to predict the future. No, our rest is in the person who holds our individual futures in his wise and gracious hands. We have peace because we know that he will complete the good things that he in grace has initiated in our lives. He is faithful, so he never leaves the work of his hands. He is gracious, so he give us what we need, not what we deserve. He is wise, so what he does is always best. He is sovereign, so he rules all the situations and locations where we live. He is powerful, so he can do what he pleases, when he pleases. 

Rest is never to be found in trying to figure it all out, because you never will. There will always be mystery in your life. God will always surprise you with what he brings your way. You will always be confronted with the unplanned and unexpected. All of this is because you don’t rule your own life and you don’t write your own story. And the One who does rule and write doesn’t tell you everything about your life and his plan. No, he tells you the things you need to know to live as you were designed to live, and then he graces you with his presence and his power.

Because he controls the details of your life, he is always near; at any moment, you can reach out and touch him (Acts. 17:26-27). Rest is only ever found in trusting the One who has everything figured out for your good and his glory. Because he is wise, gracious, faithful, and powerful, he is worthy of your trust and is alone able to give your heart rest.”

What I have learned and come to believe deep in my heart is that God is worthy to be trusted. He provides rest in our deepest sorrow. He gives amazing grace in our paths of suffering. He reveals His extravagant love in our hurt and pain. He remains faithful in the midst of our doubts and questions. He is all wisdom and sovereign . . . never making a mistake in our lives.

My God is a good God. He is full of goodness and grace. He is good to me.

Two months before Mom’s life was ended, I sang a solo in the church where she and Dad were ministering at that time. Mom accompanied me on the piano that Sunday morning. Little did I know it would be the last time she would ever play for me to sing. Mom and I were always a team . . . she played the piano, and I did the singing.

That Sunday, I sang a song titled, “God’s Been Good.” Through the past few years, I’ve often sat down at my own piano to sing and play this song in an act of worship to the Lord. Many times I’ve cried my way through it as I’ve struggled to believe the words. Yet, in recent months, I’ve been able to sing it with a renewed faith. . . having a deep rooted belief that God’s been good to me . . . through it all.

This week I sat down to play it once more and sing while my daughter recorded it. It’s nothing fancy . . . but I felt led to share it. In sweet remembrance of my mom and in loving praise to the God of goodness and grace.

 

GOD’S BEEN GOOD

Sue C. Smith & Belinda Smith

Lately I’ve been looking back along this winding road
To the old familiar markers of the mercies I have known
I know it may sound simple, but it’s more than a cliche
There’s no better way to tell you than to say:

God’s been good in my life
I feel blessed beyond my wildest dreams
When I go to sleep each night
And though I’ve had my share of hard times,
I wouldn’t change them if I could
‘Cause through it all, God’s been good.

Times replay, and I can see that I’ve cried some bitter tears
But I’ve felt His arms around me as I’ve faced my greatest fears
You see, I’ve had more gains than losses, and I’ve known more joy than hurt
As His grace rolled down upon me undeserved.

God’s been good in my life
I feel blessed beyond my wildest dreams
When I go to sleep each night
And though I’ve had my share of hard times,
I wouldn’t change them if I could
‘Cause through it all, God’s been good.

For God has been my Father, my Savior, and my Friend
His love was my beginning and His love will be my end.
I could spend forever trying to tell you everything He is,
But the best way I can say it is this:

God’s been good in my life
I feel blessed beyond my wildest dreams
When I go to sleep each night
And though I’ve had my share of hard times,
I wouldn’t change them if I could
‘Cause through it all, God’s been good.

2 thoughts on “Goodness and Grace in the Grief

Leave a Reply to Sarah Little Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

+ 58 = 67

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>