If you had asked me twenty years ago if God was good, I wouldn’t have hesitated to say YES! Of course He is! I had no clue that I was basing my view of the goodness of God upon my circumstances. Somewhere along the way, I got the mistaken assumption that if God was good, bad things wouldn’t happen to me. And assumptions, even if they’re not factual, eventually become the basis of your belief system.
Let me take you back to the early 1990’s. All I ever wanted was to be a wife and mother, and here I was with two beautiful, healthy daughters and a son on the way. I got to cook and clean and raise children all day! Life was a dream come true! (Yes, I should have been a housewife in the 50’s). I lived where I wanted to live, in a small Air Force town in North Carolina, only two hours away from my family.
This particular night, I was sitting in a Bible study and my husband (at the time) passed out blank sheets of paper. He instructed us to sign the bottom of that paper if we trusted the Lord to write whatever He wanted on it. No questions asked. No fear of the future. Just hand it to Jesus and say, “Here is my life, Lord. Do with it what You please.” I immediately signed my name on the paper. Why wouldn’t I? I mean, who didn’t trust Jesus?!?!
My friend Kim was sitting beside me, and I noticed she was holding her paper, just staring at it. I felt indignant! I said (rather snidely, I’m afraid), “What’s wrong, Kim? Can’t you trust the Lord with your life?” She said, “Look at you, Dee. You have what you want. You have a husband and children. What if I sign this paper and I don’t get that? What if God doesn’t want me to have a husband or children?” I felt the wind go right out of my self righteous body. She was completely right. I trusted God because He was giving me what I wanted. How would I feel if I weren’t getting my way?
Little did I know, my misguided theology wouldn’t be corrected for many more years. You’d think I’d’ve gotten it straight then, wouldn’t you? Oh no, this one, she’s a hard headed little thing.
I had no idea that life was going to happen to me, just like it happened to everyone else. That I’d end up leaving that little military town I loved, I’d move to the Arctic Zone and freeze to death (if it’s below 80, I’m shivering), my son would have a tumor at 8 months of age, that although we would move back to NC, life would eventually knock me down to rock bottom. Before too many more years, I’d lose that perfect little family unit I thought I had, along with my church and my home. And I’d lose my daddy, the only man who had ever loved me unconditionally.
I didn’t know then that there would come a day when I’d pray constantly, “Lord, You said in Psalm 37:25, I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread. Please provide for me and my children.” Every day I prayed for God to give me new mercies. I needed Him for the next step, the very next breath.
I wonder what I would have done if I’d been handed that piece of paper during that stage of my life? God surely didn’t seem like a good God to me anymore. He seemed distant, far away. I used to be in His lap, but now it felt like His lap was full of other people, and there was no longer any room for me.
During this season of my life, my friend Joey told this story in Sunday School. He said someone dropped a glass, caught it just before it hit the floor, and said, “Whew! Caught it just in time! God is good!” Joey said to his friend, “What if that glass HAD hit the floor and shattered? Would that mean God WASN’T good? Isn’t God good whether or not your glass breaks?”
Time stood still in that moment. The Holy Spirit spoke to me in His still small voice as loudly as I’ve ever heard Him and said, “That’s what you think of Me, Dee. You think I’m not good because your life didn’t turn out like you wanted.”
Well, Lord? Didn’t I pray? Didn’t I BEG YOU to fix it all? Didn’t I study and quote Your Word? I did my part as best I could. My marriage still failed. My daddy still died. My children are hurting and I can’t fix it for them. You could have, and You didn’t. If I saw my children struggling, I would move Heaven and Earth and do everything in my power to help them, and You said You love my children even more than I do. Why wouldn’t you fix it for them, if not for me?
No answers came immediately. Just the realization that I needed to dig deep and find a way to believe God still loved me. And He was still good.
(He did eventually show me He was with me all the time. But I’ll save that story for another day — give you a reason to tune back into the same Bat Channel, same Bat Time.)
If you’re wondering if God has forgotten you, if He is good, if He sees what’s happening to you, I promise you, He hasn’t, He is, and He does. Will it turn out the way you want it to? Maybe not. But let me leave you with my favorite C. S. Lewis quote from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe:
“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver . . . “Who said anything about safe? ‘Course He isn’t safe. But He’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”