The good men perish; the godly die before their time….No one seems to realize God is taking them away from evil days ahead. For the godly who die shall rest in peace. (Isaiah 57:1-2 TLB)
The morning after our 17-year-old son was killed by a drunk driver, people seemed to be pouring into our home, and many of them brought the same verse, Romans 8:28. I realize that verse is a real comfort to many in a time of great stress, but it didn’t comfort me. The morning after my son died, I couldn’t comprehend that any good could come out of the death of a solid Christian 17-year-old. I guess I preferred to be uncomforted.
So when a godly woman came in and said, “Marilyn, I have a wonderful verse for you!” I must admit I groaned inwardly and thought, Dear Lord, this is a nice lady. I really want to keep liking her. Please, please help her give me something different than Romans 8:28, and if she does share that verse, please help me be kind to her, and please help me behave well!!!
God heard my prayer. The verse she offered was from Isaiah 57:1-2 from the Living Bible Translation. I heard her read, The good men perish, the godly die before their time. I thought to myself, Nathan was a good man, and 17 sure seems “before his time” to me. I sure couldn’t argue about us being in evil days. All a person has to do is read the front page of the daily newspaper to know we are in evil days. And I knew Nate trusted the Lord and was now at peace.
Later that day I learned that J. Vernon McGee was speaking on that passage the very moment and day our friends received news of our Nate’s seemingly untimely death.
Dear ones, I realized then that God knew ahead of time that I was going to struggle and He supplied a verse that could comfort my confused, hurting, and broken heart. He didn’t say “Marilyn, I’m ashamed of you; I really expected you to be stronger than this, and faster than this,” but instead, He said, “Marilyn, I will never leave thee nor forsake thee (Hebrews 13:5, KJV) and feel free to take all of the time you need, even if it’s three years.” He gave me the kind of comfort I needed.
Marilyn Willett Heavilin has been married to Glen since 1958, is the mother of five, and grandmother to four. She is a published author of Roses In December, Becoming A Woman of Honor, December’s Song, When Your Dreams Die, Profound Common Sense, and I’m Listening, Lord. She also co-authored Grief Is A Family Affair with her son, Matt. Marilyn and Glen lived full-time in a motor home, traveling coast to coast each year. They served as volunteers every summer at America’s Keswick for eleven years. Three of the Heavilin’s sons have died: Jimmy at 7 weeks to SIDS, Ethan at ten days to pneumonia, and his twin, Nathan, killed at 17 years of age by a drunk driver.
This devotional was originally published in Walking Victoriously Through The Valley of Grief: A Devotional by Those Who Have Experienced Grief. TO purchase copies, call 1-800-453-7942.