I got into my bed on Monday night just ten hours after learning that I’d lost my bride. As I put my head on the pillow, a song came to my mind: “You are good, you are good when there’s nothing good in me.” I leaned over to my phone, searched for the lyrics, copied and pasted the words from the song, “Forever Reign,” for later. These words by Jason Ingram and Reuben Morgan have ministered to me since God pushed the words into my mind. These lyrics are healing and faith-building. The song includes phrases such as:
“You are good, You are good, when there’s nothing good in me.
You are love, You are love, on display for all to see.
You are light, You are light, when the darkness closes in …
You are peace, You are peace, when my fear is crippling.
You are true, You are true, even in my wandering …
You are life, You are life, in You death has lost its sting.
“I’m running to Your arms, I’m running to Your arms.
The riches of Your love, will always be enough.
Nothing compares to Your embrace,
Light of the World forever reign …
My heart will sing no other Name, Jesus…”
Jason Ingram and Reuben Morgan, “Forever Reign”
I have never had a night like that first night. I felt physical anguish, pain all night. I tossed and turned, unable to sleep. I couldn’t even cry. I could only moan and groan. I may have dozed between 3:00 AM and 5:00 AM. At least on and off.
I awoke at 5:00 AM looking up at the ceiling and simply said out loud, “In the beginning, God…” I was falling, but I found bedrock.
“You could argue that the most important words in all of the Bible are the first four words, ‘In the beginning, God…’ those words are meant to change the way you think about yourself, life, God, and everything else.” Paul David Tripp, New Morning Mercies
It’s amazing the thoughts that come to you. Cliff Jordan, our pastor, began a series the month before Kim’s death in the book of Genesis. And I awoke to the thought, “In the beginning, God…”
“I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13
I praise God for Cliff and every other pastor, teacher, and friend who has ever poured truth into my life. I praise God for others who walked the road of loss and suffering before me, serving as testimonials. As I was facing the heartbreaking end of my marriage, it was healthy to be reminded that my marriage’s beginning was not the beginning of time. Kim was at the altar with me at the beginning of my marriage; God was before the beginning of time.
Perspective is important.
Back to that first morning. Shortly after I spontaneously blurted out, “In the beginning, God…” I felt the tears begin to flow as I raised my hands and simply cried out, “I trust you, I trust you, I trust you.” I didn’t feel everything I was saying out loud in these first hours, but I knew them to be sound words.
“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.” Psalms 91:1
My sweet wife has left many rich and healing nuggets behind through her prolific writings. Months after her death, I was rereading the book, Both Feet In, for which she was the ghostwriter. In this book, Bud Fray states, “It is fatherlike love that awakens childlike trust.” If placed firmly upon the shoulders of a good, powerful, and sovereign Father, childlike trust is appropriate, wise, and curiously beneficial.
So, my declaration to trust God, since he was, indeed, “…in the beginning,” proved to be a foundational, albeit aspirational, pronouncement. It was my declaration of intent.
“I will say to the Lord, ‘My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.’” Psalms 91:2