“You’re a good good father It’s who you are, it’s who you are, it’s who you are…”
I first heard this song, “Good, Good Father” when Chris Tomlin played it at the Passion Conference in 2016.
In 2016, I was 10 years removed from losing my earthly Father, and quite frankly, still not ready to think of God again as my Heavenly Father. I never walked away from my faith after losing my father. I questioned it. I was angry at God. I would pray. I would tell Him what I really thought of what He’d done. And it wasn’t pretty. But it was real. And if you are in a season of loss right now, an ugly circumstance, or life just isn’t a bed of roses, let me assure you that God is totally OK with handling your realness with Him. Trust me, He can do a lot more with that than your fakeness.
“I’ve heard a thousand stories of what they think you’re like But I’ve heard the tender whispers of love in the dead of night And you tell me that you’re pleased And that I’m never alone…”
I grew up in church and like many of you, I know all the stories. I know the names. The lineage of Christ. The books of the Bible. The Hymns. The prayers. The verses. I also grew up in Christian school, so I know translations, I know exegisis on scripture, I know historical artificats. “I’ve heard a thousand stories…” And I hope for you, life comes easier. I hope that the transition from head knowledge to heart knowledge is seamless. I hope that your journey is without struggle. That has just never been my path. I do things the hard way. I’m stubborn. “But I’ve heard the tender whispers of love in the dead of night.” I’ll admit that I did everything I could to fill my head with noises to drown out everything else. I packed my schedule so I never had those moments of stillness. But when I did, and when my prayers were angry, my tears were hot and my soul was wandering, He told me that I’d never be alone.
And I haven’t been.
Not for a moment.
“…I’ve seen many searching for answers far and wide But I know we’re all searching For answers only you provide ‘Cause you know just what we need Before we say a word…”
The shortest, yet hardest question of all time.
I’ve walked through burying quite a few people in my life, family and friends. And I’ve walked with friends through those moments of heartache as well. Even in sickness when death brought ultimate healing, still, “why?” And I think that “searching for answers” that’s humanity. The “answers” really are what separate us from God. He is the answer, and we are always searching for Him in a way.
I’ve heard, and said myself a thousand times, as much as we wish we could have a lost loved one back, where they are today, they’d never want to come back, no matter how much they loved us.
On Tuesday of last week, a 38 year old Momma of 4 died suddenly of a suspected heart attack. Wynter Evans Pitts was the wife of Jonathan Pitts, the Momma to 4 beautiful girls, the sister of Sean Evans, the daughter of Vi Evans, the niece of Tony and Lois. The cousin of Priscilla Shirer, Chrystal Hurts Evans, Anthony Evans Jr., and a host of other titles. She was a writer. A leader. A speaker. She was busy making plans with her family to move from Dallas to Nashville. She was writing two books, to join the host she had already published. She was a wonderful woman by all accounts.
And then she was gone. In an instant. No more chapters to write. No more family trips to take. No more snuggles to give. Just gone.
Her death struck so many chords within me. My heart broke for her groom Jonathan. For her girls. For her “sister cousins” as they call themselves. For her own mother. For her brother. For her staff. For her followers. And for myself, as someone who followed her work and cherished her words. Working mommas, it’s a tight knit group we belong to. From an outside perspective, this world needed her. But as God does, with all the answers He has, He called her home in an instant last Tuesday. I watched the live stream of her 2.5 hour funeral yesterday. I cried from the welcome to the benediction. A life well lived. Cut short in our eyes. But made whole, to live forever, from her viewpoint today. A scenario I can easily relate to with the loss of my own father.
“…You are perfect in all of your ways You are perfect in all of your ways You are perfect in all of your ways to us
Oh, it’s love so undeniable I, I can hardly speak Peace so unexplainable I, I can hardly think As you call me deeper still As you call me deeper still As you call me deeper still Into love, love, love…”
I’ve heard for years, “His ways are higher than my ways, His thoughts better than mine” about the Lord. And the loss of a loved one will test that theology. The reality is, Wynter lived to be 38, my Dad lived to be 73. It’s never enough. It’s never long enough.
I find myself frequently commenting that I do not understand how people survive this life without Jesus. It just doesn’t seem fathomable to me. Because my realness would say, “it’s hard enough with Him!” But the peace of God is an unexplainable force. It truly is as the song says, a calling to go “deeper still into love.” We can never get to the end of God’s love. It’s endless. It knows no bounds. It will never run out, like our days may.
“…You’re a good good father It’s who you are, it’s who you are, it’s who you are And I’m loved by you It’s who I am, it’s who I am, it’s who I am You’re a good good father…”
Six different times, and more if the worship team goes long, that chorus is repeated. And honestly, I find myself humming it and singing it constantly throughout my days.
He really is a good, good Father.
Yesterday during Wynter’s service, one person speaking told the story of standing in the hospital on Tuesday with the Pitts family and watching Jonathan have to tell his four girls that their Momma had gone to be Jesus. And with tears streaming down his face, walking through the biggest heartbreak of his life, holding his babies, he just started singing, “He’s a good, good Father.” Oh to have that faith.
So, today, on this Sunday morning, remember friends you have a good, good Father, no matter life’s circumstances; hold fast to that, as He is holding fast to you.