“What God Ordains Is Always Good”

“It is better to go to the house of mourning, than to go to the house of feasting:
for that is the end of all men; and the living will lay it to his heart.”

Ecclesiastes 7:2

I’ve been laying some things to heart after watching the recording of Julie Herbster’s funeral. Julie was a youngish (39) wife and mom who loved music, sports, literature, and especially her family. But above all she loved her Lord. She passed away just before Easter after a ten month long battle with cancer.

I did not know her well. We “met” on an online Christian forum, where I appreciated her humor, intelligence, grace, wisdom and balance. Her husband was on the staff of The Wilds Christian Camp, which I’ve linked to before, where my kids have attended for many summers. The Wilds was not too far from where we lived in SC at the time, and I invited her to speak at one of our church’s ladies’ luncheons, and she graciously accepted. I was delighted to find her online persona and her real life personality were the same.

I was very sad to hear of her cancer diagnosis last spring, sadder still to hear of her passing. She had five children, ranging from about 8 to 15 in age. I appreciated her pastor’s comment to her husband in the funeral message (I’m paraphrasing). “You’ve wondered how you’re going to minister and live without Julie. I have no earthly idea. But that’s why we’re going to pray for God’s grace for you.” I appreciate a man of God who is honest that not everything in this life makes sense or is to be faced with a smile, and yet affirms, as he also said, “Understanding God is not a prerequisite to trusting Him.”

I was touched by Julie’s having always wanted to be a mom and how she poured her life into her children. Though her husband was in a public ministry, she enjoyed staying in the background. I appreciate how her pastor wove her love for literature, especially Lewis, Tolkien, and MacDonald, into his funeral message, with Lewis’s themes of this life being the Shadowlands and the real world beyond it. I’ve never read MacDonald, but the pastor said Julie saw in her cancer fight and chemo treatments a parallel with his The Princess and the Goblin (which I have never read but now want to), with the goblin mines being the cancer and chemo, but the golden thread that Princess Irene held on to to guide her through them representing Julie’s clinging to the truth of God’s Word to sustain her through this time.

I had never heard one of the sings that was sung at her funeral, but it speaks volumes:

What God ordains is always good:
His will is just and holy.
As he directs my life for me,
I follow meek and lowly.
My God indeed
In every need
Knows well how he will shield me;
To him, then, I will yield me.

What God ordains is always good:
He never will deceive me;
He leads me in his own right way,
And never will he leave me.
I take content
What he has sent;
His hand that sends me sadness
Will turn my tears to gladness.

What God ordains is always good:
His loving thought attends me;
No poison can be in the cup
That my physician sends me.
My God is true;
Each morning new
I trust his grace unending,
My life to him commending.

What God ordains is always good:
He is my friend and father;
He suffers naught to do me harm
Though many storms may gather.
Now I may know
Both joy and woe;
Someday I shall see clearly
That he has loved me dearly.

What God ordains is always good:
Though I the cup am drinking
Which savors now of bitterness,
I take it without shrinking.
For after grief
God gives relief,
My heart with comfort filling
And all my sorrow stilling.

What God ordains is always good:
This truth remains unshaken.
Though sorrow, need, or death be mine,
I shall not be forsaken.
I fear no harm,
For with his arm
He shall embrace and shield me;
So to my God I yield me.

By: Samuel Rodigast

9 thoughts on ““What God Ordains Is Always Good”

  1. Pingback: “What God Ordains Is Always Good” | ChristianBookBarn.com

  2. I knew Julie’s husband when he was a little boy–very little. He and his twin brother and older brother looked like cute little men in church next to their parents. One of the boys has been in Spain a few times, and we’ve talked with him when he was all grown up, though not yet married.

    I was so sorry to hear of this family’s trial and of Julie’s death. I know that they are surrounded by a great support team and that many people are praying for them. I especially pray for the children. It is very difficult to lose a mother at so young an age. Each will need God’s grace in a special way.

    Loved the song. Thank you for sharing it. So much Bible truth in it.

    God bless you.

  3. Music is so very important. I don’t think I’ve heard that song either, but I love its message. Indeed, God is good!

  4. This is very timely for me because our community just lost a beautiful, vibrant 36 year old mother of 5 to meningitis. She was a dedicated Christian who wrote songs and sang beautifully. Thank you for sharing this.

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