Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Lord, Help Me Understand

Over the last week things in my life has caused me to reflect back on my journey through grief. It was in November 2008, the Lord called my wife home. During this time, God’s Word spoke to me in ways it never had in the past. Also, His comfort was beyond what words could do justice. I could write about this, however, in this blog post I would like to discuss something I had a hard time understanding. In fact, I still do not fully comprehend it. That is, we are to rejoice always and in everything give thanks. This means even in my wife’s passing. I could understand being thankful in the good things the Lord provides. But rejoice and be thankful in death?

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

I believe this is an important passage to consider regardless of what we are going through in life, both good and bad.
In my prayers I would say, “Lord, your word says to rejoice always and in everything give thanks. How do I rejoice and give thanks in this?” I remember saying many times, “I just do not get it, please help me understand.” I have come to believe He wants us to be thankful for what He is doing through the situation and still give Him praise. He wants us to be thankful for what He has already done for us. And, He wants us to be thankful for what He has for us in the future. He is still a good God who loves us more than we could even imagine. He loved us enough that He sent His only Son to die for us. He paid a debt we could not pay to redeem us out of our lost and sinful state. A state we are in because we choose to rebel against Him. Jesus was in heaven, humbled Himself and became a man who was obedient to the Father, even to death on the cross. (See Philippians 2:5-8). Think of this, He did not even have to create us, but He did. Because of Jesus, we have a future and a hope beyond our greatest imagination. We get to spend an eternity with Him in His perfect kingdom. Because of Jesus, we can be thankful even in death.

In my grief, here are some things I am thankful for:
  • Everything Jesus has done, (see above).
  • My wife is in heaven with Jesus and one day I will be there also. 
  • I am thankful for the wonderful times we had together and the amazing relationship we shared.
  • Jesus was glorified during the memorial service and many unsaved people heard a very solid message of salvation.
  • The Lord used this to bring her brother to faith in Christ.
  • The Word of God spoke to me more personally than it ever had before.
  • The Lord never abandoned me. 
  • When I was hurting, He was faithful comforting me.
  • He provided all my needs.
  • He still loved me.
  • My relationship with Him grew. 
  • My faith increased.
  • As the Lord comforted me, now I can comfort others.


  1. Ken – I have not walked the road of personal loss and sorrow that you have and I will not assume to know the totality & depth of the grief you have suffered and all that is involved in that experience. But may I just say that I admire the fact that you did not allow the experience to turn you bitter against the Lord but instead it drew you close to Him. I am really in admiration of that.
    About 2 years back , a couple who are close friends of my husband and I, experienced similar loss when the wife died after a long awful struggle with cancer. Today, I see in the husband such a depth and steadfastness of faith that was never there before. There is a beautiful quiet strength about him which emanates from the quality of his relationship with God now. It does not answer all the whys that he and all of us his Christian friends have asked concerning their difficult and painful experience. We did not feel like rejoicing when our girlfriend and sister in Christ died but we can rejoice and give thanks in the fact that we will see her again. I think you have said it so well that it is important to have the biblical attitude of 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 for if not we may indeed become hardened and bitter against the Lord.
    Thank you for sharing this. It is applicable even to the little aggravating issues that challenge and confront us on a daily basis. We can choose to apply God’s word or we can choose to turn our back on it.I admire and respect your strength and give praise to God for His great faithfulness to you.
    God bless you.

  2. Praise GOd for walking you through such a dark,and difficult time. Even in the deepest depths of grief, He is there, and He draws us closer. Continuing to pray for you.

  3. Good morning, Ken. My heart goes out to you. I can't imagine the pain and sorrow you have/are experiencing.

    But it sure sounds like you've got your house in order, keeping the priorities that have been set for us to follow. I know it is difficult.

    Yes,focus on Him---and give thanks for the time you and your wife were allowed to experience each other. What a gift from God that is! I would say "God bless you", but He already has, hasn't He?

  4. Hi Ken -

    My heart feels you...

    Truly, Ken, your grief is real and understandable. I praise GOD for how He has helped you to cope. He consoles better than any.

    Especially, I love this that you expressed, "The Lord used this to bring her brother to faith in Christ.
    The Word of God spoke to me more personally than it ever had before.
    The Lord never abandoned me.
    When I was hurting, He was faithful comforting me.
    He provided all my needs.
    He still loved me.
    My relationship with Him grew.
    My faith increased.
    As the Lord comforted me, now I can comfort others."

    Thank you, Ken, for sharing how you experienced the love, care and faithfulness of our Lord.

    Note: Our Lord sent me here to your blog today...

    Some of what you shared here today has some similarities with what I posted today. Only GOD knew.

  5. This is a beautiful and deep post.

    I can only agree with everything you wrote.

    God is the author and the finisher of our faith. And when we cling to Him, trusting Him in the process even when we do not understand, He is honored and delighted by our heart's response.

    I can see how you have honored God with the humility of your heart.

    Thank you for the blog visit, and for following.


  6. I can identify with much of what you are saying because of losing my young son and getting divorced shortly before his death after 23 years of marriage and four children together. As you said, it is impossible to describe how near the Lord was during that time. His comfort and peace are beyond understanding. Though God gives us glimpses into His purposes and plans in the midst of suffering, we will not understand it all on this side of Heaven. God is using you to draw others to Him. Bless you for being a willing vessel.

  7. What a beautiful post. I can see how God is working in and through you. What an awesome testimony that your wife's death brought about her brother's life. Thank you for sharing this. God is ever faithful!

  8. Ken, if you would be willing to email me, I will send you my testimony about grief that I believe will encourage you. karenrice12@gmail.com

  9. Ken,

    Thank you so much for visiting the blog I write, and I am blessed by your post. When I lost a beloved person in my life, grief seemed to overcome me at times. I went through anger, some days I could not utter the words "thank you."

    Thank you for posting something so intimate and real. It will speak to many. Blessings.

  10. Amen, what a great reminder to rejoice in Him and be thankful regardless of our circumstances... it's not the circumstances we're rejoicing in... it's Him! This is so true... "Because of Jesus, we have a future and a hope beyond our greatest imagination." May our hearts continually dwell on that truth! Blessings

  11. Hi Ken,

    Thank you so much for sharing this honest and candid view of how the death of your wife affected you. After reading this, I am more convinced than ever, that the little small heartaches I experience do not compare with those of others. Inspite of that realization, I also understand that to me, they are heartaches just the same.

    I do not know if the answers to certain questions can ever be understood in this life Ken. I remind myself that oftentimes, one answer will raise more questions in my mind; sometimes, even in my pain, it is better to confess, "Thy will be done Lord."

    Blessings and peace to you brother.


  12. 'The Lord used this to bring her brother to faith in Christ’ – Praise God, how awesome is that!

    In everything we must give thanks. It is so very difficult at times of loss. We serve a God who is ever faithful and understands, every cry, every sigh, every groan and deep thoughts, that we cannot utter.

    Ken, thank you for sharing and I am so delighted that I followed you over here from ‘Mining for Diamonds’.

  13. I have not the words to say my brother in Christ and friend, but if I was standing next to you I would ask if I could give you a Christian HUG!!!!!!!!!!

    Love in Christ Jesus,


  14. Ken,
    This was a beautiful and inspiring post. Your testimony, your faith, through the terrible loss of your wife is such a solid witness to me of God's love. If you can believe that He is good, even through the worst event of your life - then I can, too.

    I very much enjoyed your list of things you are grateful for - my favorite was that the Lord used your wife's death to save her brother. All things work together for good - I guess we just have to believe that promise, even when we can't see or understand the "good."

    Thanks for being so honest, Ken - this was beautiful.


  15. What a great post. May God Bless You Ken.

  16. Hi Ken -

    Fret not...Psalm 37 -KJV

  17. Ken, you have experienced something that every spouse fears, the death of a spouse. Yet, you have let God draw you near and not let this drive a wedge between you and God. I believe that God will use this post of yours for a long time to reach others who are hurting. Thanks for posting. Grace and peace...

  18. You are awesome, Ken. One other thing you can be grateful to God for all you have been through and that is that you are now showing so many of us that we can have faith and be comforted despite our pain. You are a powerful witness of the power of God to take us through the battle. You have showed us that although the world sees your trial, you have chosen to look beyond the pain and see instead your God!

  19. Hello there Ken! I woke up early this morning feeling so sad due to reasons different from what you've written here, I searched for inspirational words to lift up my spirit and I was led to your blog. I want to thank you for sharing and letting me feel that I am not alone experiencing difficulties and continue keeping my faith, I have seen how pains/trials changed the glow of an individual and I am so happy that inspite of your loss, you've chosen to love HIM more. He loves us all so much more than we can imagine. Cheers


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