THE LOSS OF A LOVED ONE AND GOD’S GOODNESS
John Flavel was an English pastor in the 1600’s. He lived for 61 years and outlived three wives! He actually married a fourth prior to his death. After the death of his second wife, he wrote a small book with a whopping title: A Token For Mourners, or, The advice of Christ to a distressed mother, bewailing the death of her dear and only son. Wherein the boundaries of sorrow are duly fixed, excesses restrained, the common pleas answered, and divers rules for the support of God’s afflicted ones prescribed. That’s a mouthful!
Flavel’s book is powerful tonic for the modern soul. I was deeply encouraged by his wisdom and biblical reflections. He reminds me of George Mueller, the English Christian leader, who established orphanages in the 1800’s. Mueller also knew loss. He outlived two wives and all his children. He preached his first wife’s funeral at the age of sixty-four and preached his second wife’s funeral at the age of ninety! Here are Mueller’s words about trusting God during the final illness of his first wife, to whom he’d been married for 39 years:
The last portion of Scripture which I read my precious wife was this: “the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord will give grace and glory; no good thing will He withhold from them that walk in obedience.” Therefore, if it is really good for me, my darling wife will be raised up again; sick as she is. God will restore her again. But if she is not restored again, then it would not be a good thing for me. So my heart is at rest. I was satisfied with God. And all this springs, as I have said before, from taking God at His word, believing what He says.
What a weighty reminder to trust God no matter what. God is good—period. Sometimes He allows us to see this immediately, but other times not so much. Either way, His steadfast love never fails; it is new every morning. God is good all the time.
by Jay Childs, Senior Pastor