Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Leslie Basham: Kathy Ferguson knows there are some things she will never fully understand.

Kathy Ferguson: The struggle is okay, but at some point you will have to get before your Lord, and you take your honest thoughts and your honest things, and you take them before Him. But at some point you have to accept this by faith and say, “Okay, God. This is what You have chosen. Enable me to do it.” That’s what Christ did on the cross. That is a great testimony, and that has been a great source of strength for me.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Tuesday, July 28.

We’ve been in a series called Grace Through Loss. Vickey Boozman talked with Nancy in 2006, about a year after her husband died in an accident at their home.

They were also joined by another widow, Kathy Ferguson. Let’s get back to that candid conversation.

Kathy: I read in a book shortly after Rick’s death that no one could conclude that God is good by studying life. Only the Holy Spirit can reveal that to you. That was a help to me because if I just studied life, I wouldn’t conclude that God is good always. Only the Holy Spirit can make that a true understanding. That just took time for me to take sovereignty to a place in my heart. I was going to relate to God with a broken heart, and I had everything—for the most part—on our journey. When God had opened up His plan for our life, it was something that was really pleasing for the most part. So this was a first experience.

Now I see people . . . I’m so aware of people who have, just like myself, these unexpected and unwanted things, and I see that God’s sovereignty is attached to His goodness. The two things are mixed together in a way that I cannot understand this side of eternity.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: I think that’s a key thing, Kathy, that, in a way, we can’t understand this side of eternity. You’re really saying there’s a mystery here, and we have to be content to live with mystery.

Kathy: That’s right. I had taught a series at our church just before Rick’s death on the ways of God, using some of Henry Blackaby’s material. I look back on that—God is good, God is loving, God is sovereign—and the part that I had not yet experienced was God’s ways are mysterious. For the most part, God’s ways had made sense to me, and so . . .

Nancy: . . . to your human thinking.

Kathy: To my human thinking, right. Of course, self is at the root at that—God’s ways made sense to me because they were pleasing and all that.

You’re right. The word mystery had to enter my theology in a way that . . . I had not needed that before, and yet I now can embrace that with a great sense of wonder and awe.

It has honestly, Nancy, made God bigger than the God I knew before, because there’s something about His plan for my life that, while it is not yet revealed completely to me in this life . . . but His character—what I know to be true in the light of His Word—is still true. The plan, I just don’t quite get, but I will see more purpose in that in some finality.

But mystery has become a good companion in my theology.

Nancy: And that means the willingness to accept that there aren’t answers to many of our questions.

Kathy: God does not offer, all the time, explanations about what He’s doing in our life. Sometimes things can make sense to us, and they’re reasonable. But sometimes things, especially in the early days . . . I will have to tell you, now, after time and space, I’m more aware of God’s purposes in this and changes in my own heart and life, and that has been very helpful. But in the beginning, where Vickey is, I probably wasn’t there. I think a lot of people who have suffered great losses unexpectedly have to be given a lot of time and honor to let God work those things into their life.

Vickey Boozman: The pastor that brought the main message at my husband’s funeral and I were visiting maybe six weeks, maybe two months after Fay’s death. I had called him just to share with him some of the many stories that people were just blessing me with—sharing about how Fay had touched their lives. I said something about, “I just wonder how long this will go on. I can’t get over how many lives it appears are going to be changed now as a result of his death.”

Over the telephone, I could hear this smile in his voice as he said, “Vickey, I’m sure Fay’s death will touch a lot of lives, but the lives that will really be changed as a result of his death are your family’s.”

I agreed with him, but I really didn’t agree with him because of all the stories I was hearing. Then, as I look at my family now, a year out, I can see that God has done and is doing a major work in our hearts as a result of the death.

I have to stop and think, “Would this have happened had he not died? God, was there not another way?” But then, when I take in its entirety all the things that have happened to people who aren’t in the family, to people within the family. Because of his work he was connected with a lot of the national health figures—and I’m still hearing from them. That says to me, “No, it had to be his death for these changes to begin to occur.” They’re largely by a tendering of the heart, I think.

Kathy: As I think about my experience and watching other people get things in their life they didn’t expect to come, and some of them unwanted . . . This was a new look at a piece of Scripture that was so familiar to me. We’ve just all been there with Easter story where Christ is in the Garden of Gethsemane. He’s really asking God if there was another way. He’s in agony much like the agony I have really felt after Rick’s death, saying, “Wasn’t there another way?”

When God made His will clear to Christ, He took that up, and He left that garden, and He faced that. I’ve taken a lot of comfort in knowing of His prayer with God and that there we see the tension between Him asking, “Is there another way?” And there wasn’t. We see His submission to that. I think in time that is exactly what God has given me—a submission to this with the kind of heart that says, “Okay, God. This is your choice, and I will drink from this cup. I want to do it for Your glory.” That has taken a lot of work on His part, but getting to that point, there’s a great joy in that. There is joy in that kind of obedience, and we’ve seen that with Christ.

Other people who have unwanted things, I would just encourage them—the struggle is okay, but at some point you will have to get before your Lord. You take your honest thoughts and your honest things, and you take them before Him. But at some point you have to accept this by faith and say, “Okay, God. This is what You have chosen. Enable me to do it.” That’s what Christ did on the cross. That is a great testimony, and that has been a great source of strength for me.

Vickey: The only thing I could add to that is that God has taken me to a point that He has said, “Is your faith real?” I’ve determined that it is because of this. A loss like this makes you face that. Is it real? Or are you playing a game?

Nancy: When it comes down to it, it’s not our faithfulness to Him that’s what holds us up or onto Him . . .

Vickey: . . . it’s Him.

Kathy: Yes. It’s His faithfulness to us.

Nancy: That’s what your faith is in.

Vickey: Yes.

Nancy: That’s why your faith is real because it’s not dependent on your capacity to hang on, but it’s dependent on His faithfulness.

Morning by morning I wake up to find the power and comfort of God’s hand in mine.
Season by season I watch Him, amazed, in awe of the mystery of His perfect ways.
All I have need of, His hand will provide. He’s always been faithful to me.  

This is my anthem, this is my song, the theme of the stories I’ve heard for so long.
God has been faithful; He will be again. His loving compassion—it knows no end.
All I have need of, His hand will provide.


He’s always been faithful, He’s always been faithful, He’s always been faithful to me.1

Nancy: I’m sitting here thinking about the end of the book of Job, after tons of heartache—talk about unexpected things you didn’t want—and a rocky grief process with friends who were, at best . . .

Kathy: . . . poor comforters.

Nancy: Poor comforters, thank you, and so much we could say about that. But the one thing that’s coming to mind as we wrap this conversation up is at the end Job prayed for his friends—Job who had said, “Lord, I have heard of You before, but now I’ve seen You” (Job 42:5, paraphrased).

He had been through a process of faith being stretched and repentance at points and lots of things in his faith that had been challenged and lots of honest prayers and wrestlings with God and all of that. But when it comes down to it, he has experienced something that enables him to pray.

You’d think at the end he’d be the one being prayed for, and that certainly . . . I’m sure you women are, as we all are at crisis situations of life, so thankful for the people whose prayers do hold us up. I want to ask if each of you would pray for our listeners. The Lord only knows what’s in every heart. Someone who is listening right now is just now facing the unexpected, great disappointment, or loss. Somewhere in that process, that comes into every life.

Kathy, and then Vickey, would you just pray for our friends who have been listening to this conversation and maybe share through that prayer with them something of what others have prayed into your life as you have walked through this journey?

Kathy: Father, I pray for those hearts that may be in dark places from any number of sources. Father, we know Your Word says there are treasures to be found there. Father, only You can reveal that to the brokenhearted people who are facing something unexpected, disappointing perhaps—maybe it’s death or loss. Father, Your presence, You are the treasure to be found in a dark place. You are close to the brokenhearted. You are the Father of all comfort. Make Yourself real to the hurting hearts.

Father, I know in my own experience how You are the only hope in this life, and that we will not escape. Even people who know You as Savior, sin and death will still touch our experience in this life, and yet the hope You bring in eternity, the hope You bring in presence to walk it out and power and provision is just unfathomable.

Father, I pray that hope would flood people’s hearts and minds, that they could get their arms around Your presence, and that they would have comforters come alongside of them that would speak truth and compassion and love and tenderness.

Father, I pray for communities of faith and churches, that they would see the hurting and the brokenhearted, and we would honor people’s pain, and we would walk alongside them in grief. Bring people into the brokenhearted lives. Help us to be Your hands and feet in times of darkness in people’s lives. Let us represent Your face to someone who’s not sure where God’s presence has gone in their life.

Father, I pray for hurting hearts, and in this broadcast, that they would receive a word from You, a reminder of a promise, and, Lord, the testimonies of two fragile women that You have set aright and have asked us to walk with You on this journey that we did not want, but Your presence has been our hope and our strength. I can praise You for that.

Meet us, Father. Continue to do work in hurting hearts.

Vickey: Father, I would ask that You teach us to pray. Lord, it’s just so important to learn to communicate with You, not just a specified time during the day or at bedtime, but, Lord, all through the day. Father, when that relationship is there, when that communication is there, when that unseen knowledge of You is there, then, Lord, there’s an automatic turning to You.

Father, I just pray for Your church, that we would become a people of prayer, a people who seek to know You through Your Word—a people who yearn in their hearts for You and for what is good and for what is right.

Father, that we as a church would turn from our evil ways, and we would not accept wickedness in our homes. Father, that we would not allow desensitization to become a part of our hearts that prevents us from knowing what is godly and what is ungodly, and that we would instruct our children, because all of these are ways, Lord, to begin to prepare for the unexpected. There is no other way to prepare for the unexpected but to be able to walk with You, to know the Lord Jesus in a very intimate way that only comes with time spent with Him.

Lord, tender our hearts, and thank You so very much for loving us.

Nancy: I thank You, Lord, for these precious sisters in Christ and for the sweet moments we have shared sitting around this table, seeing you reflected in their eyes, in their words, in their spirit. We’re seeing treasures in them that have come out of darkness.

Lord, we’d all like to have those treasures, but we’re not so quick to want to have to go into darkness to get them. There are some aspects of Your face and Your heart and Your ways that we just will never see apart from the experience of loss or pain or heartache.

Thank You that these women have been willing to receive and embrace Your choices for their lives. We know that death is not Your plan, that it wasn’t Your intent, but what an incredible God we have that You have conquered death. It’s an enemy that’s defeated. In the midst of the tears and the enormous life-altering effects of the loss of a mate that these women have experienced, there is something far greater and grander and bigger and more eternal than their loss, and that is the glory that You are cultivating in them, and that You’re preparing them for.

Thank You, Lord, that between here and heaven You are a husband to the widow and a Father to the fatherless and a friend to the lonely and the shepherd to Your sheep. When we walk through the valley of deep darkness, we need not fear any evil, because Your presence does go with us.

Lord, those promises are not just words—they are true. These women have been thrust out of a place that seemed safe and secure and predictable into a place that, apart from You, would seem crazy. But because they’re walking through it with You, and You are walking through it with them, it’s not crazy. It has purpose. It has meaning, and their lives have purpose and meaning.

Thank You, Lord, already, for the ways You are using them, the ways You are revealing Christ to and in and through them. I pray, Lord, in the days ahead, in the hours ahead, even after they’ve just shared now (and I know sometimes the battle after the battle can be the toughest one, and they’ve poured out their hearts here), that You would just pour Your grace into their lives. Give fresh grace for this day and tomorrow and the next day and every day they live as a widow between here and heaven. Would You just tailor-make that grace and apply it to their lives and fill them with Your comfort and Your peace and the riches of the treasure of Christ?

Lord, for every hurting, needy, desperate, tempted-to-be-despondent listener today, would You tailor-make that same grace and prove the sufficiency of who You are? And may every listener who is in that tight spot right now, who’s experienced that unexpected disappointment or loss—the thing they had not planned for or wanted—may everyone find You to be that pearl of great price, and may You be glorified as Your life is revealed in and through us.

We pray with thanksgiving and in the great name of our Lord and Savior, amen.

Leslie: Each of us is going to walk through dark valleys, and each of us needs God’s strength. We also need the wise counsel from women who have walked that way before. So Nancy’s conversation with Kathy Ferguson and Vickey Boozman is a model for walking those valleys while trusting God’s grace.

It’s the final day we’ll be offering the CD of that conversation for a donation of any amount to this ministry. I hope you will call today and get a copy for yourself or someone else who needs to hear it.

We’ll include a helpful booklet called Promises to Live By. When you’re in the valley, God’s Word is invaluable. Our team has compiled encouraging Scriptures in this book. When you’re discouraged, the biblical promises listed here will give you a lot of comfort.

Ask for Promises to Live By and the CD series Grace through Loss when you donate any amount by phone. Dial 1-800-569-5959, or donate at ReviveOurHearts.com.

During this series, listeners who have experienced loss in their lives have been reading the transcripts and contributing to our listener blog. If you have experiences you’d like to share, join the dialogue at ReviveOurHearts.com. Click to read today’s transcript, and down below, you’ll find the listener blog.

Do you ever feel like you’re in a money maze, and you can’t get out? Discover freedom tomorrow on Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

1Lyrics by Sara Groves, “He’s Always Been Faithful” (Word/Epic: 2001).

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the podcast season.