In 1989, Laurel and I were in Louisiana visiting with a friend we hadn’t seen in years, and he brought up the subject of our daughter’s death two years earlier.
“I could never go through what you went through!” he said.
His words moved me deeply, but not because it raised memories of our loss. About a year earlier, I had said almost exactly the same thing about someone else.
It was almost a year to the day after we’d lost Michelle when I was called to perform the funeral of the six-year-old son of some dear friends of ours.
The little boy had been riding a tractor with his dad and had fallen off and was killed.
Performing that funeral was the most difficult thing I’d ever done in my life up to that point. Yet I was amazed at how God’s grace overflowed to those two bereaved parents.
When I came home, I told Laurel, “Compared to their loss, we haven’t gone through anything. I don’t think I could go through what they went through.”
And I meant it.
I couldn’t fathom what my friends were experiencing.
But then, a year later, another friend told me that he couldn’t imagine losing a child the way we did.
That’s when it hit me.
God’s grace is timely. It sufficent for each of our needs, but only comes when we need it.
That’s why I couldn’t imagine going through a loss like our friends experienced, and why our other friend couldn’t see himself going through an experience like ours. The grace wasn’t there, because we didn’t need it.
God’s grace in suffering comes when we need it. It is never early and never late. It is always right on time.
At a prison where I’ve done some chalk art, they sing a song that talks about this. It’s called, “On Time God.”
I’ve included a video of the song, performed by Dottie Peoples. Listen to it, and never forget that if you trust God, his grace will be there for you when you need it.