By Donna Churchill
“My times are in your hand;”
I have a love/hate relationship with October. Like a famous author once wrote, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…”
My husband was born in October. We met in October. My husband died in October. Can you see what I mean now?
Growing up, my favorite month was always October. I loved the foliage, the crispness in the air, the cool nights, football games, school days with my friends. I loved everything about it. I used to think I was born for October!
Fast forward, I met my future husband on October 1st. He became one of God’s greatest gifts to me. We shared 34 very happy years together (okay, well, mostly happy), raising our children and serving the Lord. His birthday was October 30th. On October 2nd, 2004, he fell asleep in the arms of the Lord.
For so many years of my life, I looked forward to the month of October. After October of 2004, I wasn’t sure I’d ever be able to again.
But I learned by experience that God comes through in all seasons and circumstances in our lives. Even though my husband’s death was a surprise to me, it wasn’t to God. The Lord ministered deeply to me during my season of grief through the words of an old hymn - Be Still, My Soul:
Be still my soul, the Lord is on your side
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain
Leave to thy God to order and provide
In every change, He faithful will remain
Be still my soul, your best, your heavenly Friend
Through stormy ways leads to a joyful end.
Through the words of this song and the Words I read in Scripture, I became convinced that God knows the end from the beginning of our stories. (Isaiah 46:10 - “…declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,’”)
He knew when Phil would be born and when he would die (Revelation 1:18). He knew when I would be born and when I would die. He knew that I would meet and marry Phil and He also knew that Phil would die before me and leave me alone to navigate this world without him. Because I knew and believed He knew all this, I could also know that He had already made provision for me. I was not and never have been left alone (Hebrews 13:5b – “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”).
Just as the hymn says, we are to leave to God to order and provide because He remains faithful through every change (Lamentations 3:21-24 - But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. ‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘therefore I will hope in him.’”).
God is sovereign over all. Knowing and believing in His sovereignty is what enables me to trust Him completely. He knows every minute detail of my life. He goes before me and He is my rear guard. (Isaiah 52:12) He is my provider in and through every need I have. He is my provision! (Philippians 4:19 – “And my God will supply every needs of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”)
His Word has sustained me and strengthened me time and time again. He is my portion, no matter the circumstance. Even though some circumstances of my life are not good, He is always good. He can be trusted.
My life’s verse says it best:
“Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Psalm 73:25, 26
I may not look forward to October as I once did in my youth, but I no longer dread it either. God has and I know He will continue to walk with me through all the “Octobers” of my life.