But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness…For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:9a, 10
It doesn’t feel that way. It doesn’t feel like anything will ever be OK with your world again. It feels like a travesty of justice when the sun comes up each day because the world as you know it has ceased to exist. It’s a horrible feeling, especially when everyone around you moves on with their life. For them, life returns to normal, but nothing will ever be normal again for you and your kids.
Paul begged God to remove the difficulty from his life three times. God didn’t, but he did tell him that his grace was sufficient. Sweet friend, it’s hard to accept the fact that God in all his sovereignty allowed your husband to die. He could’ve healed him. He could’ve saved him…but he didn’t. In John 11, Martha cries to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” Have you felt that way? If so, you’re not alone. I found myself in the dark of night, crying out to God, “If you’d just been there. If you’d just held that plane up that morning. If, if, if…” Sister, we can drive ourselves crazy with “what ifs” or “if only’s”. Instead, we can rest in the fact that no matter how impossible our situation seems, God specializes in the impossible. When the Israelites faced the vast Red Sea before them and the entire Egyptian army behind them, God did the impossible. He made a road for them. I celebrated my 35th birthday just two weeks after I lost my husband. It wasn’t much of a celebration, but my very thoughtful oldest son asked a friend to take him shopping for me. They went to a jewelry store, and he picked out a sterling silver cross pendant and a pearl from the actual Red Sea. It’s beautiful, but the symbolism is so much more precious. God still makes roads when our situations seem impossible. (Don’t be jealous if your kids don’t give you great gifts; my other kids aren’t quite as thoughtful yet!)
Not long after my husband’s death, my best friend let us borrow/gave us Lysa TerKeurst’s picture book, It Will Be OK. In the book, a little seed is plunged into the dark, scary uncertainty of the soil. Eventually, he realizes the love of the farmer for him as he grows into a large, strong shade tree. Oh, what a lesson for our lives! When God throws us into the ocean of uncertainty and peril, and we feel like we’re struggling for air, God himself will hold us up with his mighty right hand. (Isaiah 41:10) Friend, it will never be the same again, but it will become OK – a different kind of OK. We will be battered and broken, but we won’t be crushed nor will we be defeated. When our foundation is Christ, we will survive by his grace he so lavishly bestows on us.
A young widow with a young daughter ran out of food and didn’t know what she would do. That same day, a fellow church member knocked on her door with a large box full of food. At the end of that day, Louisa Stead sat down and penned the words to the hymn “Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus.” Her faith in the Lord later took her and her daughter to the mission field of south Africa where they served for years. Like Louisa, may we find that even in our darkest days, it is still sweet to trust in Jesus and know that he will provide for us and sustain us…even when it hurts.