Many years ago the Lord spoke to me that my family would display His goodness to others. Instantly, I pictured this charmed life…..rainbows, perfect children, expensive vacations, stacked savings and smiles for days. Are you laughing, yet?
16 years later, we have experienced anything but the picturesque life. We have walked through several life earthquakes, we became parents to a child with special needs, countless surgeries, disappointments, unemployment, untrue accusations, financial setbacks, and the list goes on. Real life happened and it had taken a toll on my perception of God.
I caught it one day when I found myself singing the chorus of a popular worship song, the lyrics were, You are good, good, good. I was singing it except I was putting a question mark at the end. You are good (?), good (maybe), good (but there was that one time). That question mark was filled with as much hope as it was doubt. I was really trying to believe it, but my heart had dared to question, ” Is God good to me?”
It’s not You, It’s Me
Life’s struggles caused a skeptic to be born. Real life became like a mountain between me and the belief that God is good. As I tried to grasp his infinite goodness my circumstances seemed to build a pretty solid case against it. Ouch! The problem with this rationale lies in how it reduces his goodness to be measured by my life satisfaction score.
” If I ain’t happy then God ain’t good.”
You see, Jesus made it clear several times that he came as a remedy to life not as a preventative measure. He never promised to keep us problem free but instead warned us that life gets tough and to trust in him. Scripture tells us we will mourn, sin, be sick, be mistreated, and offended. In John 16:3 He encourages us, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Instead of viewing problems as an indicator that He has doesn’t care, I could be thankful for the heads up. He warned me… IN ME you have peace, IN THIS WORLD you have trouble. I am here. Don’t lose heart!
What was leading this glitch in my trust?
I did some soul searching and figured out there were many things in my past I perceived as disappointments… failures on God’s part. My response to these “troubles” literally assaulted my perception of God. They caused me to doubt him.
I will share one example from my life. There was a time I was dealing with devastation from some medical issues we were having with our oldest, who has Down Syndrome. I felt abandoned by God and was angry that Canaan was sick. I was weary, felt pulled at every corner and was spit fire mad at God. “How could you be good and let this happen to me? What did I do to deserve this? Why didn’t you stop it?” Quickly, I realized this wasn’t fair. So, I began to pray, ” Lord I do feel lost, I do feel like you let me down, but I know that is not who you are. Show me where you are in this situation. Help me to see how you have been with me through this.”
Immediately, He showed me how he had grieved with me, and even wept with me. I saw that he bore our sorrows. He showed me the countless people he gave a burden for us and how they prayed and encouraged our family. He was merciful and compassionate to us. Jesus was at every appointment, every late night, every waiting room and he had tended faithfully to my broken heart. I saw that He never left my side.
Of course, I cried so hard I could not see. Yes, he had been so good to us. We didn’t have to go through that tragedy without his peace, his provision, and his tender mercies. I had just neglected to look for his goodness. Folks, this was a breakthrough!!
Finally, since I have lived a little more life I often recall what God spoke to me about our family displaying his goodness. I understand now that it is through our hardships that we are a testimony to others who are struggling. It is through our confidence in his faithfulness that will strengthen those around us. Now, when things get tough, I have learned to stop and look for Him..right there. If I look for his goodness, I will surely find it and so will you.
Think of the situations that caused you to doubt His love for you and His goodness… Write these down and ask the Holy Spirit to show you one by one how he was there for you. Allow truth to heal your heart and restore your faith in Him. Ask yourself? Is it true that He abandoned me or did I neglect to take notice of how he was there for me?