Photo Credit: Hannah April, Photography
“We are assured and know that all things work together and are fitting into a plan for good to and for those who love God and are called according to His design and purpose.” Romans 8:28
Sometimes good news is bad. Such was the news I received on Nov. 10, 2009, when the ICU doctor stepped into the ICU conference room and said quietly, “His heart stopped. We’ve been working on him for 10 minutes with no success”. I am told that my youngest daughter said, “He’s gone!” to my oldest daughter, but I did not hear it in my shock. The only words I couldn’t believe I was hearing were my own, “It’s okay. Let him go. I KNOW where he is.”
My first thought was, “He’s been in heaven for ten minutes”. It was good news for him. No more need for the port that had been put underneath his left shoulder blade. No more needles. No more treatments. No more doctor visits. No more hurrying to the ER because his temperature was up. No more swelling in his upper body and legs. No more trying to coax him to eat. No more lying in the hospital bed at home or in the hospital. No more gazing out his hospital room window looking at brick walls for weeks at a time. No more pain either physical or emotional. No more fighting to live. It was the best news for him!
But his good news was my bad news. I had left home at age 18 to go to college. A month after my second year, I married my husband. I had never lived alone in my entire life. In our over 36 years of marriage, we had never been apart for more than a week. Now he was gone and I had not gone with him. This was a journey he took without me and he was not coming back. This was the worst news of my life. How was I going to bear it? How could I even get through the next minute knowing that until I went to heaven, I was never going to see him again?
Whenever I had encountered the hard things in my life, my dad would always quote Romans 8:28 to me and when I was able to think, that was the first verse that came into my mind because it had been engrained in me. “All things work together for good to them who love God”. I could see how that verse was true for my husband, but I could NOT see how it was good for me and I did not want anyone to quote it to me either. I did not want to hear it. I was too angry to hear it much less try to reason it out. How could my becoming a widow at age 57 work for my good? How could it?
Sixty-one days later my mother went to heaven. Two days after that as I was sitting with my Dad in his room at the nursing home, I asked him, “Daddy, how does Romans 8:28 work for me and you?” We had both lost our spouses. For the first time, my daddy did not have an answer for me. He sat there quietly with his head down and waited a few minutes before he said, “I’ll have to think about that for awhile.” My husband’s and my mother’s good news was our bad news. Sixty-three days later my dad joined my husband and my mother in heaven. Good news for him…….more bad news for me. Now I was not only a widow but an orphan and all in less than 4 months’ time.
I still have not figured out how Romans 8:28 is working out for me…………how this “all things” is working together for my good. Every once in awhile I will get a glimpse of how it has worked for good in the life of someone else. As a result of my husband’s death there have been several men that have realized how important it is to have plans made for the care of their wives and finances set in place. As a result of the testimony of what my husband had set in place for me, there are other wives who now never have to worry should their spouse go first.
Lord, I don’t understand how these losses are working together for good in my life. It makes absolutely no sense to me. Help me to trust You in my grief journey and maybe someday I can see how all my bad news worked out for my good.