Monday, January 10, 2011

Life Is: Good or Bad?

When Mom called Friday night. I expected the usual run-down of weather, car repair troubles, and goings on at her church. Instead, I heard, “I have some bad news for you. Daniel died.”

I screamed in horror, sank into a dining room chair, and dropped my head on my arms across the table, sobbing. I was so hysterical, Kevin had to take the phone from me. Daniel. My only brother. Gone. It couldn’t be. He is just four years older than I am, far too young to die.

We won’t know the cause of death until sometime next week, after the coroner’s report. I am still in shock and anguish of soul. But I know my God is merciful, and I believe that if Daniel turned to Him in his last moments, He received Him to His everlasting home, where he’ll never be sick or depressed again.

I thought of this article I wrote last year. It’s even more relevant to me now than it was then…

Have you seen the t-shirts, caps and car stickers declaring, “Life is Good”? Although I generally agree with this statement, I have a little different viewpoint on life:

 When your stomach is full, life is good. If the meal was tasty and you had dessert, life is tremendous.

 When you are so sick you haven’t seen your appetite in weeks, life is rough.

 When you are holding all three grandchildren on your lap and singing “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad” life is fun.

 When you miss the grandkids’ ballgames and ballet recitals because they live three states away, life is difficult.

 When you know at least one of your family members love you unconditionally, life is sweet. If there is more than one, you feel blessed beyond counting.

 When you are forced to say goodbye to someone you loved sooner than you’d planned, life is horrible

Which is it, then? Delightful or dreadful? That depends.

Jesus told His followers, “I came to give you life abundantly (John 10:10).” He also said, “In this world you will have tribulation (John 16:33).” Jesus acknowledged that we’d have happy days and horrible days. He was not an idealist who refused to admit the presence of evil in the world, hoping it would go away if He ignored it.

The secret to Jesus’ success on the rough days? He spent time with this Father, getting His perspective. Jesus often stole away from the crowds to spend hours, even entire nights in prayer, seeking God’s wisdom and strength. This is how he maintained control and composure when a lynch mob tried to throw Him off a cliff, or religious leaders accused Him of doing miracles by the power of Satan. Because He was full of His Father’s thoughts, Jesus always faced darkness head on, refusing to tremble or run from trouble.

While we may not be able to spend all night in prayer, we can follow Jesus’ example of turning to the Father when we need wisdom for horrible days. We can sit quietly and simply listen to His still, calm voice in our hearts. We can open His word and mine jewels of direction and understanding.

Life is good. Life is also hard. Yet, we do not have to crumple in a heap of despair and fear when hard times confront us. We have the same solution Jesus had, because His father is our father, too. When life is anything but good, we can turn to Him for love and comfort.

How do you best relate to God when you are troubled or sad?


  1. I really do cling most to Him at these times. I cry out to Him.

    Your post today reminds me of something my mom told me her pastor told her once, "Life is beautiful. Life is cruel. Life is beautiful and cruel."

    ~ Wendy

  2. Sometimes I go to the Lord, sometimes I huddle within myself. It can take me time to snap out of the fog, although I know He's always there, and waiting. Life is full of ups and downs, but if we didn't go through the challenges would we truly appreciate the good things? I'm thankful He's there to pick us up and see us through.

    Praying for you and your family,

  3. I am so sorry about your brother, Jeannette. I can't imagine. I have just one brother too and I love him to pieces. Praying God will fill you with His supernatural peace.

  4. Praying peace and comfort. So very sorry, J.

  5. I am sorry to hear about your news, Jeanette. I'll be praying for you and your family.

  6. I'm so very sorry to hear about your brother. You said it so well, there are the Father's arms. May He comfort you and your family.

  7. My heart breaks for you in your loss. This post hits home today...My sister was just here for doctor appts, and her future is full of what-ifs...possible heart transplant soon, etc., etc., etc. Thanks for the reminder to turn to the Father.

  8. Jen, you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. *hugs* I'm sorry for your loss. May you see His mercies in ways unimaginable at this great time of loss.

  9. There is both the good and the bad. I am thankful that His mercies are new every morning.

    Knowing that your brother is in God's arms.

  10. Jeanette:
    We all have to look to the Lord in times of loss. The suddenness of our loss sometimes makes it harder for us to grasp the reality of what has happened in our lives.
    Prayers for you and your family.

  11. Jeannette! I am so sorry. Praying for you and love you.

  12. So, so sorry to hear this sad news, Jeanette. I think when tragic things happen the most painful part is the unanswered "why?" that claws at our souls. Sometimes... most times... there is no answer. And that's when God gathers us in His willing arms and holds us for as long as we need Him to.
    Comfort and mercies, dear one, for you and your family, and the peace that passes ALL understanding.

  13. I went through a similar phone call for my BIL--sudden and unexpected death makes me cling even closer to God. There is now way through such sadness without Him.
    I am so sorry for your loss and the pain I know you carry with you.

  14. Oh, Jen, when I first heard of your loss, my heart ached for you. When my son's girlfriend's mother recently passed away, I cried and ached inside for weeks, and mind you, I didn't know her! Why? I'll never know, unless I was aching for a young 21 year old who lost hr mother. But God is sufficient and merciful. I love you, dear friend. Blessings!

  15. When our daughter died life seemed very cruel... in her case such an unnecessary death, too. I could only trust in God's wisdom and his promise of eternal life, and rest in his love. I'm so sorry to hear your loss. May your faith bring you comfort.

  16. Oh, Jen. I'm so sorry to hear of your loss. I'll be praying for you my dear friend. Lots of hugs and love.

  17. What a tremendous loss. I'll say a special prayer for you. Your article is a blessing. Thank you for sharing your heart with us.

  18. I'm sorry to hear about your loss. May you rest in His love that is eternal, and comforting. You keep reminding me of that. Thank you.

  19. I'm so sorry to hear about your loss. May the Lord continue to comfort you.

    When I'm sad I just cling to His word. His promises.

    Thanks for this honest post, Jeanette.


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