In the months since Jeb’s death, I’ve heard several people tell me to hold fast to the promises of Romance 8:28. “For all things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose.”
I love God. I believe wholeheartedly that I am called according to his purpose.
Gregg loves God. Gregg believes wholeheartedly that he is called according to God’s purpose.
Our surviving children, Kaylee, her husband Alex, and our son Scott, love God and believe wholeheartedly that they have been called according to His purpose.
But, friends, I gotta tell you – I think of a lot of adjectives when I think about the death of our son:
The word “good “ isn’t really in that list.
So I’ve had in the back of my mind this “waiting” – waiting for it to turn to GOOD. Waiting for something to BE GOOD.
And then I heard Gregg speaking to someone about it recently and he said something so unexpected that it actually stopped me in my tracks and I haven’t really recovered fully from the profoundness of what he said.
A man on the phone said to Gregg, “Remember Romans 8:28 and have peace.”
Gregg paused then said, “Listen, I know that God said all things work together for good. And I believe that with all of my heart. But that doesn’t mean they work together for MY good. For OUR family’s good. They work together for God’s good.”
For the last two or so months, I’ve pondered what that might mean – working together for Good.
Of course, it makes sense.
I 100% don’t believe in the prosperity gospel – that God wants us happy and rich and as long as we pray for it and believe it fully in our hearts, it will be ours for the taking. I don’t think that is God’s desire for us at all. I think that people who think that are probably not fully invested into their faith walk, and people who preach that are what are called charlatans.
Because, if you think about it, even the most devout followers of God have suffered tragically. Look at most of the disciples, for instance.
Luke was hanged from an olive tree.
Matthias was stoned and beheaded.
Paul was beheaded.
John the Baptist was beheaded.
Simon was sawed in half.
I could go on, but I think you see my point. How did that work together for good for THEM or their families?
Let’s bring it back home to something a little more recent. How is Jeb’s death GOOD?
I don’t know. I don’t know what God is going to do with it. I don’t have the kind of omnipotence that our Creator has to be able to say with certainty that this thing that happened here will ripple through the world and at this point somewhere beyond the here and now, we can declare the good.
I wish I did. I would so love to see what the end of it all looks like. I know that one day I likely won’t even have to ask. I hold tight to the faith that Jeb already knows and can’t wait to show us.
I do know this: he was an amazing person. He touched lives wherever he went. He made friends with anyone he spoke to. He was the most encouraging, loving person and I never felt less-than around him. His death affected everyone who ever knew him in a way that is still amazing and humbling to me.
I am so very thankful that I had the ultimate and wonderful privilege of being his mom for almost fifteen years. His life on earth HERE brought good – joy and strength to everyone he encountered.
And even though I hurt and miss him terribly, I know that God said that all things work together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. That verse is about us – my family – the one who serves God with certainty and hope. So even though we can’t see it right now, in the midst of the fog terribleness and the shock and the mourning, there isn’t a single doubt in our minds that God will take this tragedy and work it for GOOD.
And while that is truth, because God is not one who would lie, (Number 23:19) it might be that we never get to see it. It might be that we get to suffer and mourn for the rest of our time on earth. That is okay. We choose for that to be okay because ultimately, what we want to do is serve God and love Him with all of our hearts, and all of our souls, and all of our minds, and all of our strength. HIS good becomes OUR good even if we don’t get to experience it now.