God’s Goodness in the Loss of A Spouse
In the past 13 months (January 2021 to February 2022), there have been 12 in our church family who have lost their spouse. Many of those were from old age, but one of those was in his 40s and another in his 50s (car accident and heart attack). Last Sunday I preached on the sovereign goodness of God (link here), and I wanted to share more on that below.
Ps 119:68 says to God ‘You are good and do good.’
George Muller preached on these words at his own beloved wife’s funeral:
‘During the six days that my beloved wife was on her deathbed, my soul
was sustained by the truth contained in the words of our text [God is good
and does good]. Whether she was more easy from pain, or in severe pain;
whether there was a little prospect that she might yet be given back to me,
or whether all hope was gone; my soul was sustained by these words. They
were ever present with me, and I rested my soul on them. [His outline]…
I. The Lord was good, and did good, in giving her to me.
II. He was good, and did good in so long leaving her to me.
III. He was good, and did good, in taking her from me.’
Click here for the rest of his moving message.
Muller could later write ‘I kiss continually the hand that has afflicted me.’
Ps 119:71 goes on "It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes."
Thomas Watson wrote All Things for Good in 1663 in a time of persecution
and personal suffering. It's a classic Puritan exposition of Romans 8:28 and below are some quotes that stood out to me in reading it
“The expression ‘work together’ refers to medicine.
Several poisonous ingredients put together, being tempered by the skill of
the [pharmaceutical doctor], make a sovereign medicine, and work together
for the good of the patient. So all God’s providences, being divinely
tempered and sanctified, work together for the best of the saints.” (p. 11)
“Do not mistake me; I do not say that of their own nature the worst things
are good, for they are a fruit of the curse, but though they are naturally evil,
yet the wise overruling hand of God dispose[s] and sanctif[ies] them (p. 25)
“No vessel can be made of gold without fire; so it is impossible that we
should be made vessels of honour, unless we are melted and refined in the
furnace of affliction … As the painter intermixes bright colours with dark
shadows, so the wise God mixes mercy with judgment” (p. 26).
“Afflictions work for good, as they are the means of loosening our hearts
from the world. When you dig away the earth from the root of a tree, it is to
loosen the tree from the earth; so God digs away our earthly comforts to
loosen our hearts from the earth” (p. 29).
With her permission to share, this is what I read at the end of the sermon yesterday:
How is God good when you lose a spouse? Louise wrote 'I have leaned heavily on
God Almighty. Just knowing He is with me all the time is such a big help.
Knowing He has the best plan, no matter what it looks like to me gives me
comfort. Knowing that if I really trust Him, I don't have to know why. I
miss Del so much. Every time I turn around, he is supposed to be there and
he isn't, but God is. I just have to remind myself of the good … and not
what I don't have. The most comforting thing people say to me is that they
are praying for me … Thank you for calling ... God has been too good to me for me to concentrate too much on sadness. I have so much to thank Him for … Knowing God is
always with me even in my missing my precious Del keeps me thanking
Him for all He has and continues to provide. When I get sad, I thank God
for all the years I had with Bob (51) and the 16-1/2 years I had with Del,
and all He provided through both of them. Then I'm not concentrating on
what I don't have. My thank you list is a whole page long in my prayer
journal. One whole page is filled with names of people God has cured of
cancer. Twelve of them are people in our church family. Yes I have so
much to thank God for, He often provides little things that are not
necessary, but nice. When that happens, I know just who to thank. ~Louise'
To God be the glory, and to us be the good He works together for us who love Him and are called according to His purpose. Let's continue to pray for, and let know we're praying for, and call and reach out in care to those who have lost their loved ones.