Sometimes God uses bereavement to bring us to the end of our own resources. When a loved one dies or we grieve a different kind of loss, we discover our need for support and comfort. God designed us to experience abundant life by having our ultimate needs met in Him. As Augustine said, “You have made us for Yourself, oh God, and the soul of man is restless until it finds its rest in You.”
This leson is illustrated in the life of a British pastor as recorded in Charles Trumbull’s,Victory in Christ :
It was back in 1874 that a young Church of England vicar, the Rev. J.W. Webb-Peploe, with his wife, went to a seashore place with their youngest child, then a year old. At this place, Mr. Webb-Peploe met Sir Arthur Blackwood, and when the older man learned the calling of the younger, he held his hand tightly as he asked, “Have you got rest ? … Have you rest in all your parish troubles?” “No, I wish I had,” said the young minister honestly. “I want the same,” said Sir Arthur.
. . . For three days the two met together [for prayer and study of notes from Oxford’s deeper life conference], and then Mr. Webb-Peploe’s little child was suddenly taken away by the Heavenly Father. The young earthly father took the little body home, and reached there much wounded in feeling through contact with people who did not understand his circumstances. After the funeral, he began to prepare a sermon to preach to his people. He took for his text, 2 Cor. 12:9 -” My grace is sufficient for thee.” He spent some two hours working on the sermon, and then he said to himself: “It is not true; I do not find it sufficient under this heavy trouble that has befallen me. “And his heart cried out to God to make His grace sufficient for his hour of sore need and crushing sorrow.
As he wiped away the tears from his eyes he glanced up and saw over his study table an illuminated text-card his mother had given him. The words read, “My grace is sufficient for Thee” — the word “is” being in bold type and in a different color from all the other words … He seemed to hear a voice say to him: “You fool, how dare you ask God to make what is ? Believe His word. Get up and trust Him, and you will find it true at every point.” He took God at His word, he believed the fact, and his life was revolutionized. He entered into such an experience of rest and peace, such trust in a sufficient Saviour, as he never dreamed possible. (Victory in Christ, p.78-80).
The prophet Habakkuk likewise testifies to the peace of God which transcends devastating circumstances:
“Though the fig tree may not blossom, Nor fruit be on the vines;
Though the labor of the olive may fail, And the fields yield no food;
Though the flock may be cut off from the fold, And there be no herd in the stalls–
Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.” (3:17,18).
How could the prophet have such grace? The next verse shows us:
“The LORD God is my strength; He will make my feet like deer’s feet,
And He will make me walk on my high hills.”
Our Father, we confess with David, that in Your book all of our days were written even before our birth. Grant us wisdom to trust fully in Your grace in times of happiness as well as times of sorrow. Thank You for Your all sufficient comfort. In Christ’s name we pray, amen.