My grandmother lived what many would consider a tragic life. Born in the early days of the Great Depression, she grew up poor, hungry, neglected, and abused by a step mother who was given charge of her after her mother’s death when she was only four. She had to work hard for every thing she had-and she didn’t have much. By the time of her death, she had been preceded by 2 of her children-a stillborn baby boy and a wayward son who suffered a seizure in his mid 20’s and died alone.
Her life was not to be envied. But she was greatly admired by those who knew her. She kept the faith and coated the family Bible in tears until her backslid husband and rebellious children found their way to this Jesus whom she loved.
My grandfather died in his early 60’s leaving my “nanny” behind. As was common for many growing up when she did, nanny didn’t have much of an education. She became a very adult learner and started studying to receive her GED. Those plans were halted one day when her daughter walked in to find her talking like a baby and crying for her “mama”. Her descent into Alzheimer’s was rapid.
It wasn’t long after that she slipped into a lengthy coma. She woke up three times, and each time she said the same five words, “God’s been good to me.”
What event in her life warranted such a declaration? Her life was full of death and sorrow and struggle, yet those were the words so deep in her spirit that not even the depths of a coma could suppress.
I thought about my nanny this week as I taught my youth group from the book of Romans. We reached the passage my Bible labels, “The Believer’s Triumph”.
Romans 8:38-39 proclaims,
“For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
I always thought that to mean nothing I do can separate me from God’s love, but I’m now seeing it in a broader view-that God’s love is an ever-present force, no matter the circumstance I’m experiencing. Hardship is NOT a result of the absence of His presence or love.
He was good to her because He was always with her.
He was with her at four years old when her mama died.
He was with her when she was punished for filling her empty belly with mustard in the middle of the night because her step mother had starved her.
He was with her when her newborn didn’t cry.
He was with her when her children were lost in wild living.
He was with her when she heard of the discovery of her son’s lifeless body.
He was with her when her mind had left.
And He was with her in her deep slumber from which she would not recover.
He was always walking with her…and now she can walk with Him.
NOTHING separated her from His love.
She never lost the faith because like the Apostle Paul, she was persuaded that nothing could separate her from the love of God because nothing had separated her from the love of God.
Oh that this would be our testimony. I pray that we would remember that His love has never and will never leave us. I pray that we would see that God has been good to us, because He has never left us.