Surely the righteous will never be shaken; they will be remembered forever. They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord. (Psalm 112:6–7)
You may not be surprised to learn that I read a lot of books. I’m drawn especially to those real-life testimonies of triumph over tragedy, where the author overcomes – with God – heartache, sickness, pain, and death of a loved one. With tears streaming down my face, I read of their challenges and am heartened by their courage and trust in God.
But it’s easier to read another’s story in a book than to live an unwelcomed “new normal.” The heart-stopping moment when the phone rings and you sense that the voice on the other line has bad news can be paralyzing and fear-inducing. When I was nineteen, one of my closest friends was killed in a car accident. Grief overtook me, and I questioned how the Lord could have allowed a young woman with such promise to die. It was the first time I had to face an altered reality, where something that wasn’t supposed to happen did.
I couldn’t echo the psalmist that I had no fear of bad news. In fact, just six months later another friend (although not as close to me) died of a brain aneurysm, and seven months later my beloved grandfather died. My faith was shaken, but all the rocking landed me in the everlasting arms of God. Through the months and years after, I explored the big questions of why God allows such suffering and pain. Seeking the answers helped me to develop a steadfast heart, as the psalmist says, of one who trusts the Lord. I began to see the crucial difference between God allowing something to happen and the Lord causing it. Of course I won’t fully understand the reasons why this side of heaven, but I began to know from deep within that the One whom I trusted was indeed trustworthy.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, sometimes our hearts are here and there and certainly not fixed on you. Help us in the bad and the good times to trust in your goodness.