A couple of days ago, I was reading Charles Spurgeon’s Morning by Morning devotional. He wrote this: “We need winds and tempests to exercise our faith, to tear off the rotten bough of self-dependence, and to root us more firmly in Christ. The day of evil reveals to us the value of our glorious hope.” (Spurgeon, p. 122)
Two days later, just this past Saturday, the “day of evil” hit with a powerful gale when we lost my beautiful niece, just 31 years old.
It goes without saying that we are still reeling from this unexpected tragedy, and we are all working to process the idea that she’s really gone.
I look back at Spurgeon’s words “the value of our glorious hope” and am comforted to remember the things that I know to be true:
God is good.
God is faithful.
God is full of mercy.
God gives strength to the weak.
We can’t use words like devastated, crushed, destroyed, without also remembering the depth of His love and recalling the truth of His presence.
How do we see God’s goodness in the flickering lights of the ambulance? How do we recall His mercy when two young children have to be told their mother suddenly, without warning, went to Heaven? How can we stand on His faithfulness when this scenario plays out time and time again in families all over the world?
Is it even possible to draw comfort from God who seems to stand at arm’s length while the horrible happens?
I’m going to answer, Yes, to that question, because Yes is the truth. Scripture and my own experience assure me that it is. The reality is that He isn’t keeping us at arm’s length. His arms are holding us up.
Over the past two days, the verse that has been in the back of my mind is Deuteronomy 33:27. Here’s what it says, starting in verse 26: “There is none like the God of Israel, Who rides the heavens to your help, and through the skies in His majesty. The eternal God is a dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting arms.”
It’s those everlasting arms that are holding me up during these sad days- even though I don’t see them, or even necessarily feel them. You know, as I’m sitting in my house right now, I don’t see the foundation. But I know it’s there because it’s holding me up. It’s sustaining me and keeping me from crashing through the floor into the dirt below.
God is holding onto us. Maybe we can’t see Him through the lens of this day of evil, but we know He’s there, and His help is everlasting. We can trust Him, even though we can’t see Him. We feel His strength as we lean into His promises that He goes before us and that He walks with us.
No, we don’t understand why we lost this beautiful, big-hearted young woman from our lives when we did. But we know our Father loves her, and that, like all of us, He had the day He took her home as meticulously planned as the day she was born.
This is our glorious hope- that no matter the circumstances of this evil, fallen world, we have a Redeemer who has secured our place with Him in eternity.
He will continue to be our refuge and continue to sustain us until He brings us home.