These last few days the Lord has taken us down a road we have never been on before. A road of sorrow and grief as we have watched our dear friends lose their 18 year old son. It was so fast. So sudden. He didn’t feel well and then before you could blink he was gone. A bright light of joy, a radiant smile, the apple of his father’s eye. A best friend to my son. He was gone.
As we are in the midst of grieving, my daughter’s best friend lost someone dear to her. Then a couple days later I hear of another family where the parents and two children were lost in a house fire. So much grief, so much sorrow!
You never think these things will happen to you. Sure, they happen to other people but not to you. And then the Lord breaks into your life and causes you to stare death in the face.
Where is God in all this? He is right there, the same as He was yesterday and what a comfort to know that He does all things well. Even when we don’t understand, He not only sees the whole beautiful picture but He has orchestrated in His Providence these things for His glory and His children’s good.
As I mourned with my church family and friends I was struck by how awful sin must be. We were not made to die. We were created to be eternal. It is because of sin that this awful tearing occurs! And it made me consider do we view sin that way? Do I view sin that way?
But in the midst of tragedy I saw grace. I saw a father bowed down with brokenness yet blessing the Lord. I saw a mother with poise and composure giving her son back to God. Yes, deep gut-wrenching sorrow, and grief that only a parent can feel in burying their child. But I also saw worship, submission to God’s perfect will, a desire for God’s glory, and thankfulness for 18 years were the heart throbs of their souls.
The Bible says, it is better to go to the house of mourning, than to go to the house of feasting: for that is the end of all men; and the living will lay it to his heart.
Our family has been in the house of mourning, our entire church has been in the house of mourning and it is my heart’s cry that we will be bettered for it.
How precious the promise of the resurrection of the body is! How beautiful to know that God is the same God today in our sorrows that He has been in our joys. Christ Himself groaned and wept before the grave of Lazarus. He bears our sorrows and weeps with us. And praise be to His name He has gloriously taken away the sting of death!
“If your Lord calls you to suffering, do not be dismayed, for He will provide a deeper portion of Christ in your suffering. The softest pillow will be placed under your head though you must set your bare feet among thorns. Do not be afraid at suffering for Christ, for He has a sweet peace for a sufferer. God has called you to Christ’s side, and if the wind is now in His face, you cannot expect to rest on the sheltered side of the hill. You cannot be above your Master who received many an innocent stroke. The greatest temptation out of hell is to live without trials. A pool of standing water will turn stagnant. Faith grows more with the sharp winter storm in its face. Grace withers without adversity. You cannot sneak quietly into heaven without a cross. Crosses form us into His image. They cut away the pieces of our corruption. Lord cut, carve, wound; Lord do anything to perfect Your image in us and make us fit for glory! We need winnowing before we enter the kingdom of God. O what I owe to the file, hammer, and furnace! Why should I be surprised at the plough that makes such deep furrows in my soul? Whatever direction the wind blows, it will blow us to the Lord. His hand will direct us safely to the heavenly shore to find the weight of eternal glory. As we look back to our pains and suffering, we shall see that suffering is not worthy to be compared to our first night’s welcome home in heaven. If we could smell of heaven and our country above, our crosses would not bite us. Lay all your loads by faith on Christ, ease yourself, and let Him bear all. He can, He does, and He will bear you. Whether God comes with a rod or a crown, He comes with Himself. “Have courage, I am your salvation!” Welcome, welcome Jesus!”
― Samuel Rutherford