No Matter What You Lost or Lose; Cling to this Truth

Today would have been my mother’s 66th birthday.

Reflecting on her life and death leads me back to Psalm 116:7, the verse that carried me through the pit of despair.

“Be at rest once more, oh my soul,

for the Lord has been good to you.”

It’s hard to find goodness at a graveside. A soul doesn’t feel very restful in the throes of grief, even when it “knows” that God is kind and in control.

Intellectually I knew God was good, but I didn’t know that experientially until my well-being depended upon embracing His goodness in my darkest hour. My soul was tormented when Ma died. I felt untethered from my past, as if I had no identity apart from my connection to her. My mind said I was cheated out of my mother’s companionship and that my kids were needlessly deprived of their doting grandmother. I self-righteously resented people who take their moms for granted.

Abbey Campbell painted this portrait of Ma on very short notice, just in time for Mom's  60th birthday memorial picnic.

Abbey Campbell painted this portrait of Ma on very short notice, just in time for the 60th birthday memorial we celebrated in the park.

I constantly wondered if she understood the depth of my love for her, and if I could have done anything differently to keep her alive. Vicious gnawing at my soul. Constant doubt and guilt. No rest to be found.

Apparently the Psalmist faced a similar struggle.  Why else would he command his own soul to be quiet? Wasn’t he just stating the obvious by saying that God had been good to him?

“Be at rest once more, oh my soul, for the Lord has been good to you.”

He was realigning his heart with truth. His words were medicine for my sick heart. My inner person needed to be told what to do in order to find rest.

I had to shout my soul down with the truth that HE IS GOOD ALL THE TIME. I couldn’t let my mind wander down all the paths self-pity wanted to lead it. I had to take every thought captive and show it precisely how God is good to me. Like this…

Maybe I didn’t love her perfectly, but He does – before she was born, as she lived and died, and as she now sings before His presence.  I rest in that. He was good to let me be her daughter, even if the time seemed short to me. God enriched my life through her legacy, but also in countless ways beyond that. He planned my salvation before He spoke the world into existence, and He floods my life with family, friends, and spiritual treasures. I rest in His provision.

Countless times every day I force myself to acknowledge how God proves His goodness to me. Many times that means recalling special moments with my mom; the excellent advice she gave me, and the dozens of times we went to cardstores to read funny cards together (until we laughed so uproariously we almost wet our pants and were sure the shop manager would call security on us).

Tears came often. Rivulets of grief cleansed the window of my soul, making God’s goodness clear once again.

I pray that each grieving heart who reads this post will cling to God’s goodness. Wrestle your unruly thoughts; make them submit to truth. Wear the protective covering of His kindess as armor against bitterness. Name every last blessing He bestowed on you, and thank Him.

You won’t find rest until you do.


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