Life is difficult. Let no one tell you otherwise.

The fall validates it, the psalms bemoan it, the prophets knew it, the apostles affirm it, and Jesus predicts it (Rom. 8:22, Ps. 88, Jer. 8:11, Acts 17:22, John 16:33).

Why is the right thing to do usually the difficult thing to do? Can you love God without people hating you? Why does following Jesus mean renouncing everything? (Luke 14:33, Matt. 16:25, Phil. 3:7-10).

In the past few months, I have felt the weight of these questions in more ways than I can recount. My mind has no doubt in the goodness of God. But trusting God does not mean your heart will never break.

Knowing the Lord does not mean that you will not know grief. Life can pair God’s tender heart to your broken heart, like the brightness of stars against the blackest of nights.

In grief, I found myself lamenting to God in tears, “Lord, why are you breaking my heart?”

I turned 43 years old this year. In my ignorance, I thought the worst of pain was behind me. I did not think I would feel this way again.

Grief makes you feel so powerless. You cannot change the actions of others or control the outcomes of circumstances. You are most woundable and most vulnerable because you are at risk of losing the things you love.

Life is difficult. Let no one tell you otherwise.


God is good. Let no one tell you otherwise.

Creation validates it, the psalms rely on it, the prophets proclaim it, the apostles enjoy it, and Jesus embodies it (Ps. 19, Ps. 16:1-2, Lam. 3:22-23, 1 Pet. 5:10., Col. 1:19-20).

Why does God turn his face to people who turned their backs to him? How did God’s enemies become his beloved children? Why was Jesus forsaken so I can be redeemed?

In the past few months, I have felt the force of these questions in more ways than I can imagine. My heart had no reply to the circumstances I was facing. But I felt the Lord’s nearness, like the shade at my right hand (Ps. 121:5).

He felt like my Father who showed me that he cares for me. His grace was sufficient for me (2 Cor. 12:9).

The depth of grief can break your heart but the grace of God can strengthen your heart. Though my heart was broken, it was never out of his tender hands.

In grief, I found myself saying to God repeatedly in praise, “My comfort in my affliction is this: your promise preserves my life” (Ps. 119:50).

I have been a Christian for a few decades. In my ignorance, I thought I knew the goodness of God. I did not know I could feel so much more love for him.

In grief, the Lord can make you feel his nearness so powerfully. We can be fearless of the actions of others and entrust the outcome of circumstances into his hands because he is making all things new (Rev. 21:5).

In his flesh, Jesus became most woundable and most vulnerable, praying, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mark. 15:34)

Our pain is always as deep as the love we have lost. There is no pain greater than the pain that Christ felt on the cross because there is no love greater than the love between him and his Father.

He is our wounded healer and by his wounds, we are healed (Isa. 53:5).

Knowing Jesus in grief is knowing him in a way that makes the goodness of God more personal and more beautiful than the best preacher can declare, the greatest poet can describe, or the most captivating musician can sing.

When my heart was overwhelmed by grief, God’s goodness overwhelmed my grief.

It has deepened my reliance on his Word and given me joy in his presence. It has made me feel what I know: that God gives a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, and festive praise instead of despair (Isa. 61:3).

I know you will face grief because life is difficult. When you do, I pray that you will see the face of God in the darkness, for even the darkness is as light to him. (Ps. 139:7-12).

I pray that you will know his goodness is greater than your grief and that your broken heart is safest when it is united to his tender heart.

God is good. Tell it to everyone you know.