My mother died two weeks after her granddaughter was born, two weeks before her grandson turned 3, and four days before her only child got a big promotion at work.
I chose to view this intersection of triumph and tragedy as net loss, which led me to declare the month of June a tumultuous one, annually, to be loathed and combated. The well-meaning words of family and friends were focused on the eternal: you will see her again because she is in the arms of God and smiling down on you with pride.
I wondered, however, what of this life? Annually, Miserable March, when the decline began, would begat Joyless June. Joyless June would begat Despondent December where even amongst the joy of family, friends, and celebrating Christ’s birth, I could think only of who had been lost and ponder even the point of me being here.
The daily search for joy, peace, even a simple dose of contentment, was not only futile, but an unending source of frustration.
Psalm 27:13 declares, “I will remain confident in this, I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” King David, who authored many Psalms of praise, provides simple insight for the walk with God and one of its chief benefits: confidence even in the clutches of defeat.
David attributes all of his victories over enemies, circumstances, and even death, to one thing: confidence in the hand of God’s deliverance over his life.
My mother’s death was not defeat, rather it was victory.
My error was not a lack of trust in God, but ignoring God altogether. It slowly became apparent to me through reading about God through the lens of His love, and His desire for me to walk with Him, that approaching Him and obeying His Word would be the keys to my victory on earth.
It is important to remember that, as Pastor Craig Oliver puts it, God has some requirements. Deuteronomy 10:12 and 13 lay out some requirements, “...fear the Lord, walk in obedience, love Him, serve Him with all your heart and soul, and observe His commands and decrees…”
I had chosen to figure things out on my own. I didn’t need God; I was a motherless child who could do it all by myself. Of course, that was not a successful approach.
God has increased my joy by walking with Him, and studying Him. So many distractions that formerly held a high priority, and detracted from my joy, no longer have that grip on my life. I don’t know how He does it, but I will enjoy His peace, surpassing all of my understanding.