In Dealing with Grief Part 11, we learned that when we follow God’s lead and speak out His Words, even to perfect strangers, we never know when we may be speaking life into someone who is grieving, when we may be helping them to not get stuck in the grieving cycle! This last devotional, another personal story of a Nugget Writer, deals with the all important “Why?” Question:
WHY DO BAD THINGS HAPPEN?
Why do bad things happen to good people? Why does a loving God allow death, sickness and other hard things to happen to His people? I have pondered those questions many times and although I am not eloquent in speech or an astute Bible student I have settled those questions in my own mind. I will try to share some of my thoughts – just in case someone out there is struggling with the same questions.
I am reminded of the old hymn “Does Jesus Care”. One stanza asks —
“Does Jesus care when I’ve said goodbye to the dearest on earth to me, and my sad heart aches till it nearly breaks – Is it aught to Him? Does he see?
And the answer — O yes, He cares, I know He cares! His heart is touched with my grief; When the days are weary, the long nights dreary, I know my Savior cares.”
The year 1998 is a year that I will never forget! In January my dear Mother lost her fight with cancer. It was her desire that she die at home and my husband and I honored that request. She breathed her last one afternoon with us at her side. She had been sick for about 2 years and in a way it was a relief to us because she had suffered so long and now she was at rest. But – knowing she was no longer suffering and that she was in a better place didn’t soften our sorrow and as we picked up the pieces of our lives we often mentioned to each other how much we missed her.
Then came the very worst day of my life. It was in early December, 1998, in Ocean Springs, MS. I was awakened in the night by the sound of my beloved husband’s heart attack. He was lying on the floor at the foot of our bed – breathing his last! This was a man who was – seemingly – in the bloom of health. He was involved in fulfilling a dream – his dream of running across the United States – something he had dreamed about for several years, and there he was lying dead on the floor of our motor home.
Even beginning to explain all the things that went through my mind that early morning — I don’t have the words to describe, even now over 10 years later. My life, my other self, the love of my life lay dead at my feet. God where are you? The blur of the funeral, decisions, where to live, what to do?
God in his mercy helped me through those awful times. My son and daughter came immediately to assist with decisions that had to be made. I was numb. I couldn’t think or make good decisions. I am thankful for my family and good friends who helped me through those dark times.
Sadly, I couldn’t see any good in my losses. I couldn’t see that God in his mercy let my mother go to sleep so she wouldn’t suffer anymore. I still don’t know why He let my beloved and loving husband die at age 67 but I AM thankful that he didn’t live to be an invalid.
Still I struggled, I allowed myself to drift from God – not far – but too far. I muttered things like “why me?”. I didn’t get an answer, at least not right away.
Fast forward to Christmas 2000. I had moved to Canada by this time to be near my daughter. I had been experiencing severe pain in my right hip and was using a cane to get around. Then one morning I heard a C-R-U-N-C-H and I knew, I just KNEW my hip had broken. 5 years went by in which I endured 10 surgeries on hip and thigh. Surgery #5 resulted in a severe Staph infection in my right thigh and the certainty of losing my leg loomed before me. God in his mercy, didn’t let that happen – surgeries 6,7 and 8 resulted in a thorough cleansing of the infection and assured that I would not lose my leg. Praise God for an excellent doctor and for answering my prayers and those of my friends. As a result of the infection and in the process of the last 2 surgeries, my knee became damaged so that I can no longer walk without a walker but PRAISE GOD I can get around!
It was near Christmas in 2005. I was sitting in my chair talking to a friend on the telephone when my daughter and son-in-law came in my home. They both work and should have been at their jobs so I knew immediately that something had happened. They came to tell me that my youngest son had died. He had been bothered with depression and finally the hopelessness of his life overcame him and he ended his life. What more God? Then I remembered something. God had to sit on his throne in heaven and watch HIS son die on that awful cross. Jesus who lived a sinless life died at Calvary so that you and I can have eternal life. Brothers and sisters – NO ONE knows better than God what it is like to lose a son.
After awhile, as each affliction occurred, I drew closer to God. Once I cried out to God, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” The answer came back to me “You have forsaken me”. THAT is when I realized that my walk along the Christian pathway had been only a shadow of what it should have been. Now, each day I am walking closer to God. Each day I study His word and I invite Him into my heart and thank Him for my blessings. I can see, hear, use my hands and live an almost normal life. I have been blessed with loving children and grandchildren and many friends. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else besides where I am.
Friends it is OK to be sad for a little while. Remember the shortest verse in the Bible? “Jesus wept” (John 11:35). Yes, it is all right to feel sad but then remember that Jesus sees our sorrow and He feels sad, too. Never take your eyes off of Jesus. He is there and He cares.
I have read that when a butterfly comes out of its cocoon it has to struggle and if someone unwisely ‘helps’ the butterfly will not be whole. God gives us struggles so that we can grow to be the people He wants us to be. Everyone’s struggles are different but they are for our good – to make us ready for heaven.
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13)
In this final edition of Dealing With Grief, let’s remember that no matter what we are going through, no matter what we have already been through, no matter what still lies on our plate in the future, God will not only get us through it, but if we allow the troubles to draw us closer to Him, He will bring good out of the bad situations. He will help us to live and love again. He will restore us to happiness!
God bless each of you as you deal with your own grief and as you help others to deal with theirs. Remember, God’s love is at the centre of everything that happens! You can trust Him to work it all out in the end!
In His love, Lyn Chaffart Moderator, The Nugget.
* Besides being a Nugget writer, Wynona Gordon is a mother of three and a grandmother of 7. In her spare time, she knits for the homeless, she researches genealogy, she hosts her local Bible study group, and serves as “taxi driver” for her grandchildren and “chief cook and baker” to her daughter and family.
(To access the entire “Dealing With Grief” mini-series, please click here.)