When The Bad News and the Good News Are the Same News

by Jean Wilund

The Bad News

I knew she’d be mad but I didn’t expect out of control rage from such a young child. But then again, she does take after her momma.

Our daughter had just finished fourth grade at Pineview Elementary. We loved Pineview. I loved Pineview. But I loved my mom more.

And if the doctors were right, Mom only had one more year before she’d succumb to cancer. I had two choices.

If I kept our kids in school, I could visit Mom in Georgia on weekends. But if I took them out, I could homeschool them and have the freedom to create many sweet memories with her in the short time we had left. The choice seemed obvious, but not easy.

Our daughter loved her Oma, too, but she was 10 years old when we broke the news to her. We were pulling her out of Pineview.

At that age, all she could hear was we were taking her away from her friends and favorite teachers. As a rising fifth-grader, she was going to be an elementary school “senior.”

Rage burst from her tiny body. She flew out the back door, sobbing. I sat in the living room stunned. Silent tears spilled down my face. I was losing my mom, and now I’d just broken my little girl’s heart.

Help my child, Lord. Help my mom. Help me.

I wanted to run after her and hold her and beg her not to be angry, but Larry held my hand and told me to give her space.

Lord, how do we make this okay?

When I couldn’t wait any longer, Larry and I walked out to the back yard and found her curled up in a chair, tears still falling. Her clenched fists trembled. She glanced back and forth between us. I saw in her eyes, rage and resolution battled for control.

I took a deep breath and reached out to her.

“We’re sorry, Sweetie. We really are.”

A slight nod told me she knew.

“We truly want to do what God wants, and we know we’re not perfect parents, so please pray. Pray and ask God to show us if we’re making a mistake. If we are, we promise we’ll change our decision. We won’t take you out. But, Sweetie, Oma isn’t going to be around much longer, and I need to be with her. I want us all to have more time with her, and we can’t figure out how to make that happen if y’all are in school all week.”  

Another quick nod.

It’s hard to feel so deeply. To be torn between loves.

She promised she’d pray.

What else could we do? We went to bed.

A few mornings later she pulled me aside.

“I’ve been praying like you asked. And I think I should be homeschooled this year. I feel like there’s something big I’m going to miss if I’m not.”

I tried to keep my face from displaying shock.

God had moved in her heart to accept the decision we believed was best.

The Gift

Many months later, I sat on Mom’s porch and watched as she taught our little girl how to draw portraits. Mom said she had a gift. She just needed training.

And so they sat at the picnic table as Mom explained the proper placement of eyes and noses. And then she loaned our young artist her colored pencils. The gesture was no doubt lost on her, but not on me. She didn’t know these were Mom’s best pencils. Or that she used them every day. And now Mom had given them to her.

Mom passed away before the end of the school year, and today our little girl is a college graduate of fine arts and a professional artist.

She would most likely still have become an artist even if we’d kept her in Pineview. But she would’ve missed out on the gift of leisurely afternoons with her Oma and a box of pencils.

The Good News

The bad news that we were taking our daughter out of school had become good news after all. Sometimes the good news and the bad news are the same news. It’s just the perspective that differs. Jesus’ disciples knew this well.

Sorrow filled the disciples’ hearts when Jesus shared with them the bad news. He was leaving them.

But then He added, “Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away” (John 16:7a ESV).

Imagine the disciples’ thoughts.

It’s to our advantage? You’re leaving us, and this is to our advantage?

As inconceivable as it seemed, the bad news was actually good news. It’s why we call the day they crucified Jesus “Good Friday.”

Unless Jesus died, they – and we – would remain lost in sin. And unless Jesus returned to the Father, the Holy Spirit wouldn’t come.

“for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you” ( John 16:7b ESV).

When all that the disciples could see was the cruel cross, Jesus had already seen beyond it to the resurrection.

Have you received bad news? Remember the Good News — the Good News of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  

Jean Wilund

Jean Wilund is passionate about coffee and comedy, but she's most excited about leading women into a greater understanding of the Bible and a deeper relationship with God. She writes for Revive our Hearts ministries, creates Bible study videos for her YouTube Channel, and connects with women on her blog at Jeanwilund.com. Jean and her husband live in South Carolina. Their children and grandtwins live scattered across the country.

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  1. Jean, this beautifully written post reminds me I should wait before passing judgement on moments in my life. They often appear with “good” or “bad” labels on them—at least in my mind. We can trust God even when outcomes seem bad. Thank you for sharing a sweet personal story with deep meaning.

    1. Thanks, Jeannie! I do the same thing — placing “good” and “bad” labels on moments in my life. I’m thankful God has shown me that He views our moments through a different lens — His eternal lens. I’m glad our story was able to encourage you!

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