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Good God

She either means what she’s singing with every fiber of her being or she’s just super expressive. Her beautiful face is illuminated by the colorful stage lights moving in tempo with the song. Her eyes closed and a hand raised, she offers up her resolute praise.

You are good, good, oh-ohh.
You are good, good, oh-ohh.
You are good, good, oh-oh-ohh.
You are good, good, oh-ohh.

I think she means it.

I don’t know her, but I know of her personal tragedy and the knowledge makes me choke on the words as I attempt to sing the same. I glance next to me at the Holy Spirit to see if he notices my inner turmoil but his gaze is fixed upward. The questions churning in my mind have jagged edges: How can a good God allow innocent children to suffer and die? How can a good God ignore the prayers of thousands for their beloved pastor to not succumb to cancer? How can a good God allow one of his faithful daughters to give birth to a stillborn baby?

The oppressive questions darken my heart with pain and grief, but it’s not until I feel the Holy Spirit’s hand on my shoulder that I realize I’m crying. Without a word, he draws me to his side and holds me while my tears flow there in the darkened auditorium.

Later, while he’s seated across from me at the coffee shop and I’m warming my hands on the steaming mug of chai tea he asks, “How are you?”

“I’m struggling,” I replied. “I can’t wrap my mind around how she can sing those words and mean them after what she’s gone through.” I pause and take a deep breath. “And I’m terrified of what tragedy I’ll face. I feel like I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop. Waiting to see what horrific thing you’ll allow in my life to test me like Job. The truth is,” I stop and examine the honey-tone wood grain on the table. “The truth is, I don’t know if I will be capable of believing that you are good in the aftermath. Or that I will ever want to.” I fiddle with my mug while I work up the courage to meet his gaze. When I finally do, I don’t sense any anger or judgment.

“Why don’t you ask them?” he says.

“What? Ask who?”

“The people you’re thinking of who have walked through tragedy. Get them to tell you their stories. Find out how they can say that I am good, even after their storm.”

I sit back in my chair and ponder the ramifications of his proposal. As much as I care about the people I have in mind, I am not eager to dive, pen-first, into their pain. But I’m already hurting for them. It would be nice to get to share in the hope they have. And maybe their story needs sharing. I find myself nodding. “Okay. I’ll do it.”

His answering smile is sweet as he takes a sip of his double espresso. “Taste and see that the Lord is good. Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.”

***

Motherhood/life experience/etc. has unleashed a host of hellacious fears that threaten to permanently maim me if not combated. I have long tried to avoid them, but now find myself at a place in life where I am forced to engage not only those fears, but also some of the difficult aspects of following Christ. Growing pains, I guess.

Maybe, just maybe, I’m not alone in my struggle, which is why I hope you will join me. I do not know how long our journey will last nor do I know how many stories will be told. I don’t pretend to think this will be an easy road. But the roads worth taking rarely are.
Romans 15:13

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June 12, 2017  17 Comments

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