“Who Can Show Us Any Good?”: Encouragement for Sad Days

This morning as I sat in my minivan after another night of comforting sad children over the death of our beloved cat, I felt the weight of sorrow in my heart. So much sorrow! Not just for pets that die, but for all the other sorrow in my own community and across the whole world. I realize that losing a pet is a small thing compared to other sorrows that potentially await us all. What if things actually don’t get better? What if they get worse?

A wise pastor told my husband that life gets harder, but joy gets greater.

I’m having a hard time with it. I can’t muster up the hope today. In fact, I feel Creeping Cynicism. I don’t want to pray. I don’t want to read my Bible.

But a phrase keeps repeating in my mind as I sit  in my minivan. It’s the question in Psalm 4: “Who can show us any good?” When life weighed the psalmist down, he asked the question I feel myself asking on my worst days. What’s the point? Who can show me any good today?

I remember the answer from my own childhood when I memorized Psalm 4. The answer is this:

Lift the light of your countenance upon us, O Lord. 
You have put gladness in my heart,
More than when their grain and new wine abound.
In peace I will lie down and sleep,
For you alone, O Lord, make me to dwell in safety.

I ask God to put the kind of gladness in my heart that doesn’t depend upon what happens to me. I thank God that He gives peace and helps me dwell in a kind of safety I cannot comprehend. He does it. He puts it in there. Who can show us any good? Even in the midst of the distressing question, God puts gladness, peace, and safety there.


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  1. Today Ann Voskamp wrote on grief, hard grief. I think whatever grief we are going through is a hard grief. I picked two sentences to remember.
    Joy is the way to live bravest of all.
    Thanks therapy is God’s prescription for joy.

    Last spring I read One Thousand Gifts. Yesterday, I wrote 1000 and the gift and it has been therapy.
    I lost The Best Dog Ever a few years ago. This past spring, my daughter lost The Best Cat Ever. I wrote about it; I read that post again after you posted about Jack and I cried all over myself, missing them.

    Thank you for the verse to remind me that God puts gladness in my heart, He gives peace and safety, He shows us good.

  2. Losing a pet is so difficult. I'm so sorry for your loss. We love them so much and they love us so much and the gaping emptiness when they're gone just feels like it's too much. I'm thinking of you and your husband and your girls. Just because they're no longer under our feet every day doesn't mean that we stop loving them. Jack had an awesome life with you and what a gift that was for him…and for you. Jack will forever be part of you.