Wednesday, June 15, 2011

How Good is Our Lord!

I am reminded very tenderly, painfully, and joyfully just how good the Lord is; how Sovereign He is; how absolutely perfect He is. Because He holds the entire world down to the smallest atom in His hands, this means He is in control. Utterly. Completely. And of course, this is only natural; He is Creator, I am the created.

Tonight, I held my sister in a tender embrace (for her collarbone is fractured!) and had to gently say, the Lord is good! The clencher? He is good, not only because He took our sister to heaven exactly when He decided to, though "sooner" than we would have liked, but because He gave her to us for the time He did! I told her, He is Sovereign; it is not about us, but it truly is about Him... but in His grace He redeemed Dinah when He did and His sanctification work within her was absolutely stunning, vibrant, and evident to any who came in contact with her. In His grace, He chose her; in His perfect will, He swept her away from this life; in His mercy, He loved her. He is good. He planned to "take" her from us; He planned for the hurt and grief to come... but in that the tears are not a bad thing, for even Jesus wept! If He willed for us to "lose" a sister and knew the pain we would feel, He is still good; we have Him amid the tears. I told her, in everything, we must run to the Lord for only He can give us rest, peace, and comfort; only He can bind up our wounded hearts. As I prayed with her, my heart absolutely broke into a thousand pieces... for I remember those bitter moments before the Lord opened my eyes, before I had even a fraction of understanding His Sovereignty. I could not figure it out until I first realized, it was for His glory! It is all about Him! In hurt, when we praise His name, He is glorified.

And as the tears stung my eyes for the pain my little sister felt so deeply, I asked to pray with her. With each beat my heart seemed to breaking a little more. All I want is for her to grasp how good the Almighty God is in everything.

Job 1:21 And said, Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.

What does the Lord owe us? Nothing. What do we deserve? Eternal separation from Him. What does the Lord give us elect? His grace, mercy, love, and goodness! We know that even amid the trials and pain, HE IS GOOD! We know when He pours out blessing, HE IS GOOD!

In the end, all I can do is buy icecream for my sister, sit with my sister, pray for my sister, listen to my sister, love my sister, weep for my sister, hug my sister; but only the Lord can give her what she truly needs: Himself. He is the only solid place, the only sure thing, the only reason, the only One who is so constant; in life He is all that makes sense in an upside down world.

Our Lord is so good. I was sinful, vile, totally corrupt, utterly depraved; but in His grace He took me from that place; in His grace He took my sin upon Himself, and gave me His righteousness. I deserved nothing, yet He gave me all I could ever need: Himself. Dear Dinah, she too received this gift of righteousness, eternal life, eternal hope, eternal rest with her Savior. She truly glorified her Maker with her life. Dinah, sanctified; Dinah, redeemed; Dinah, chosen; Dinah, loved; Dinah, the sweetest little girl with a fiery personality, a child of God. He is so good, byHis grace, I know I will see her again.

How good is our Lord!


samhimself said...

So this is what you meant when you said you told my mother “about Dinah”. I figured it was something along these lines (putting 2 and 2 together), but didn’t want to pry. I cannot express how much your words/story has moved me. I cannot even imagine the pain and sorrow you went though. But yet at the same time, it is such a powerful and glorious testament to God’s grace, love, and sovereignty. For he said to Dinah (figuratively); you are my child, whom I have loved, redeemed, and saved. I will bring you home shortly to my perfect peace and rest. And in the radiance of my face you will dwell forevermore. But first I have some work for you left to do; to radiate my love and tell of my glory and saving grace to all those around you. In many ways the Lord was gracious to your sister. She will never know what it is like to lose a sister, brother, father, mother, or husband. She will never know the pain, toil, and hardships of adulthood (though she certainly had probably more of this as a child than most). And as you said, God was GOOD and gracious in giving her as much time as she did have (just as he is good and gracious when he gives someone only a few hours). For “Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints” (psalm 116:15).This is not to say that we should “hope” to die young so we can get to heaven faster. For David reasoned with God not to let him die saying; “Wilt thou show wonders to the dead? Shall the dead arise and praise thee? Shall thy loving kindness be declared in the grave? or thy faithfulness in destruction”? (psalm 88). Our chief end (as you know) is to glorify God and enjoy him forever! If his plan for us is to live a long life; we should glorify him and enjoy him in that long life, go to heaven, and glorify and enjoy him FULLY forever. The same is true for a short life. Whatever God’s plan for our life, we should live to his glory, ready to go at any time. On the other hand we SHOULD pray for what is in accordance to his revealed will (the bible). Such as the ability to “rise up and call our mother blessed” (pro 31:28 which of course assumes that we live long enough to do so). The ability and blessing of have our own children, which the bible repeatedly says is a good thing (psalm 113:9,115:13-14,127:3,128:3 and this also assumes you live long enough to see this). And of course the blessing of seeing your children’s children (psalm 128:6). You should see my grandmother’s very radiant face (it’s almost always radiant, especially when singing) when at family reunions we sing psalm 128. She holds the book in her left hand and confidently/triumphantly leads the singing with her right hand. You will see the tears in her eyes as she looks over all her sons, daughters, and grandchildren. And despite her age you will hear her voice loud and clear above all others. She is a woman who has been joyfully talking about heaven for as long as I can remember. But she does not just “sit and wait for it” she is on the contrary, the most proactive woman I know. Living each day to the fullest, joyfully serving and glorifying God.

samhimself said...

Of us seven children, I am the only one that has thus far had a “close” experience with death (though I would not dare say it was as close as yours). His name was “Bob” (full name was Edgar Robert Edwards), he was my first “mentor” (outside my family), a grandfather figure, and my best friend (at the time). My mother was also very close to him (for he reminded her of her father), and she always greeted him with a big hug and kiss. I worked with him (all day) every Friday and Saturday. We were building a high performance airplane in his barn/garage (he actually started building this about the same time I was born). Every Friday and Saturday morning he would pick me up at 7am and we would go to breakfast at Cracker barrel. We frequently talked about the things of the lord and I learned much from him. One thing he said more than once was that Christians should be “resting” in God. He took this to mean that they should be ready to die any minute and not fear it. When we were in “gasp” situations such as in a car that is swerving hard to miss an animal etc, everyone would gasp but him. He died suddenly of a heart attack on a Sunday morning at 1 am. That morning my father came into our room and told me, “you should probably get up. Mr. Edwards died this morning”. He then left the room and went downstairs to tell my mother the news. I heard the plate that my mother was holding hit the tile floor as dad told her the news, followed by a loud cry of anguish. But my mother, who is ever so selfless, spent only half a second pitying herself. For the very first words out of her mouth were a frantic “where’s Samuel!?, where’s Samuel!?”. She ran up the stairs and into our room and not seeing me (for I was in the closet in a dazed confusion, not able to believe the truth), demanded her question again to my brothers. Someone must have pointed to the closet door for she burst in and through her arms around me. This is when the first tear formed. Her first words to me were; “don’t try to hold it in son, let it out”, and I did (she lost her mother in a very sudden way 2weeks after she married my father). I could go on and on about all the little things that god did in this situation to make it a “good” painful situation. Of how he used my parents to minister the word of God to me as my heart lay bleeding and open. But one thing I will never forget (and do always think about whenever a believer passes into glory) is something my mother said to me at church that morning. Someone had asked me if Mr. Edwards had got to fly his plane before he died. I said no (or maybe I stated to someone that he didn’t get to fly it, I don’t quite remember). Anyway my mother looked at me and the person I was with and said “he’s on a far more glorious flight right now”. Your sister Dinah has taken that flight too. And in the lords good timing (in such a way that brings him glory), you and I will take that flight as well.

samhimself said...

Please forgive all the spelling errors/wrong words, it was late :)

Leah said...

Samuel, Yes indeed. I give you my word that one day soon I WILL tell more of this story (since I am unsure how much you know). It affords my heart and soul great pleasure to speak in remembrance of my sister; it is not upsetting but rather uplifting to tell her story!

It is very painful to remember the initial grief of that time... oh it is frightful to think were I might be apart from the Lord's grace! But, as my mom says, "Leah, you went DEEP in your grief; I often worried about you those first few months. You went deeper than many of your siblings. But I also think that because you met it head on and went so deep... that is why you are the place you are in you faith now." I am absolutely in awe of the Lord and His grace on my life. Through trials of many sorts, I have only had my roots deepened in Him, and more dependent on Him. I would not have it any other way. With every fiber of my being I can honestly and humbly declare, God is good.

Thank you for your kind words about my sister! (: Oh she was so radiant! So enamored with her Savior.

Amen. You words, as always, were so very edifying and uplifting, dear friend. I truly do enjoy all that you share.

As for your story, it brought tears to my eyes! And, you may not think of much of it, but when you said, "though I would not dare say it was as close as yours" you could not have been more compassionate with those words. For years I struggled with giving grace to all the insensitive words spoken such as "I know how you feel, my dog died" or "I know exactly what you are going through, my great aunt died when I was 7"... those were honestly said to me(certainly the WORST said, but many many similar things were said as well). I struggled to not let bitterness envelope my heart. I never wished anyone to understand my pain, but I hated when their calloused words were so presumptuous in thinking they COULD understand. By the Lord's grace, I was mature enough to handle the situations with love, more love than I thought they deserved. And now, I have a better understanding of how to minister to those with gaping wounds of loss. So that simple phrase meant a lot to me. (:

Fresh tears were brought to my eyes when I read the part about your mother, I could just see her so clearly doing that. She is truly an incredible woman, and an incredibly godly one!

Oh, thank you Samuel, for sharing that with me. I was so very blessed by your honest recount and transparency. So blessed. (:

In Christ,

Leah said...

Also, I did not really notice if there were any typos. I am sure I made some, so please excuse mine!