PRAISE & PRAYER PROMPT ••• One year ago this week, we had two major things happen in our family on October 18th. My grandmother died after suffering a brain stroke. And on my husband’s side, Wayne’s dad had a surgery called a Whipple to remove a cancerous mass.
Flash forward a full year. On my side, we are remembering my grandmother and the series of events that took us from ER to ICU to hospice to a funeral. And on my husband’s side, the hospice nurses have told my husband that his father is not expected to live beyond this week. (I’ve mentioned this a couple of times over the last two weeks, but my father-in-law’s cancer returned with a vengeance.)
So this is going to be a hard week because last year was a hard week too.
And when I think of our family history, we don’t have a great track-record with events in mid-October. I was almost 14 when my Mamo’s mother died on October 17th, and I was very close to my Great Mommy too.
So now that I have shared all that and thoroughly depressed my readers on Monday morning… let me turn this around a bit.
Things are still sad. But I went to church yesterday and God was definitely speaking to me. Our church sang “How Great Thou Art,” which is one of Mamo’s favorite hymns (and mine too). I had to hold my neck/ throat the whole time as I was trying not to start crying. We played that hymn at Mamo’s funeral and so as much as I love it, I do think of that correlation when I hear it.
Our preacher’s sermon titled “Reality, Grief, Hope” was exactly what I needed to hear.
And after church, I called my mom. She said they played “How Great Thou Art” at her church too.
In my research, I found several verses that are the supposed basis for the hymn, and I’m not sure which is right. So I’m going to pick one of my favorites. This verse comes from King David’s prayer in 2 Samuel 7:22 ESV, “Therefore you are great, O Lord God. For there is none like you, and there is no God besides you, according to all that we have heard with our ears.”
There are not enough adjectives to describe the greatness of God. Even in our difficult days, weeks, months, and years—God is there and He is good. Throughout Scripture, we are reminded of His greatness over and over.
His greatness was there during the Israelites enslavement in Egypt. It was there in the exodus. His greatness was there when David faced Goliath and when Solomon built a temple. His greatness showed up in the belly of the whale when Jonah tried to run away. And His greatness showed up in a humble manger. His greatness was shown through His authorities, His miracles, His sermons, and even His crucifixion. His glorious greatness crescendoed when He walked out of the tomb.
2000 years later, His greatness still shows up when we welcome good news or when we face difficult decisions or diagnoses we never wanted to hear. He is still working miracles in our lives and His greatness equips us to keep going even when we’re not sure what to do.
Whether this is a great week of celebration or a difficult week that is the reflection of much loss and hurt—God’s greatness is there. He is bigger than all our joys or sorrows. And because of His greatness, we can hold tight to the truths of Lamentations 3:22-23 ESV, “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” and Romans 8:28 ESV, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”
Today, as you pray, thank God for His greatness. Thank Him for always being there, for always having a plan, and for always being in control, even when things feel out of control. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you trust in His greatness in every season of life.