Is God Really Good?
Warning: I sobbed writing this one. Sobbed proofing it. And can’t read through it without sobbing. This is my heart, friends.
As a little girl growing up, I loved fairy tales. Sure, they had their problems. The evil stepmother, the wicked witch, the mean stepsisters, that scary evil lurking in the woods. It didn’t matter what nemesis or evil the hero faced, I knew that in the end, good was going to win and I was going to get my happily ever after. I could close the book or watch the end of the movie and smile knowing all was well. Imagine my shock to grow up and discover that’s not how life works. Well, life here on earth anyway. I suppose we could pause here and talk about suffering and how heaven is the happily ever after. That’s a different book though. The fact is life is messy. And this life isn’t actually a fairy tale… or a hallmark movie. Insert sigh here.
As a little, fairy tale loving girl, I also dreamed of a family of my own. That was going to be my happily ever after. I loved babies from the time I was old enough to hold one. I love playing house. I couldn’t wait to start babysitting as a teen. I loved a good book with a sappy love story or hallmark movie with a feel good ending. And I couldn’t wait for my very own wedding day when I would finally be able to have a family of my own.
Never in a million year did I ever imagine that I would be 39 and single. Ever. The thought never crossed my mind. It literally was on the impossible side of things that were going to happen in my life. I didn’t really want a career. I wanted to be a wife and a mom. I wanted to love my husband and serve my family. And I can’t even type that without sobbing.
God had a different plan. Because here I am.
And friends, the kicker is, a year and a half ago I reached a point where I was willing to be single if that’s what God wanted. Literally wrote the following statement down at the time.
For the first time ever Lord, I think I can say that if you choose to leave me single, I will be ok with that. Tears come to my eyes and my heart hurts because I still dream of a husband and kids, but you are good Lord, you are sovereign, and you have a plan. More than my desire for what I want, my desire is to bring honor and glory to you. To be used by you. I hope eventually that means marriage but if it does not, I’m still yours and I will choose to follow you.
You know what happened immediately following this revelation in my life. A man. A man happened. The Lord placed a man right in front of me. And I liked him. A lot. And the year that followed was the best and the hardest year of my life.
And then the Lord took that man away. And I was crushed. I wasn’t just left heartbroken, I was left questioning everything in life as I knew it. I had given my life trying to serve the Lord well. I sat back and served kids and families. I watched all of my friends get married and have kids. I watched the kids that I used to babysit for get married and have kids. And here I sat wanting nothing more than to honor the Lord as a wife and a mom. And it feels like he’s forgotten me.
His Word tells me he knows the desires of my heart. I wanted to honor him with those. I hadn’t sinned to get what I wanted. I wasn’t sinning because he didn’t give me what I wanted. I waited on him and tried to serve him well in the process. And here I sat crushed because for the first time in my life I thought that a family was actually going to be a possibility in my life.
And then it wasn’t.
And I’ve got to be honest I have wrestled hard with one question in particular.
Is God really good?
Because to be quite honest, He doesn’t feel good.
He feels kind of mean. I had given up everything, I had served him well, I was willing to be single, he placed this man in front of me. I loved this man and his daughter with my whole heart and wanted nothing more than for them to love God and then love me. And God took them from me. How do I trust someone who in his sovereignty did that? How is that good? It felt like he was just playing with me. Just giving me enough to know that I really did truly desire a family and then... psych, nevermind, I’m taking it away.
I didn’t know what to do with that.
And so I wrestled. Hard. The last year of my life will be a book someday, I hope.
Because in that wrestling, God showed himself. In big ways.
I still questioned. And doubted. And questioned. And doubted. Over and over and over again.
And 5 months later, after 5 months of tears everyday, of questioning everyday, of praying and petitioning, and hoping and doubting everyday, in the same week, I had two friends point out the same thing to me.
The first friend told me. " You’re not trusting God." "I know," I said. "But I don’t know how to trust him anymore. I’ve searched him with everything that I have and I don’t even know what to do anymore. How do I trust someone who has left me in this spot?" “I think just choose to,” she said. “Find scripture that says he is trustworthy and trust him.”
Easier said than done.
And then two days later, another friend said to me, “So… I feel like I'm supposed to ask you about that whole God is good thing. How are you doing with that?” I immediately started crying. “Not great.” I told her. “I think I’m supposed to tell you that you have to work through that before anything else.” She hesitantly said to me. More tears. “I know. But how?” “I don’t know,” she said. “But God is good, even when it doesn’t make sense.”
And in that moment it all came together.
I sat there in the chair sobbing and found myself whispering to this friend, “Oh my word, I’m basing God’s goodness on the outcome of my situation, not on His character.” More sobbing.
We have a winner, friends.
In hindsight, God knew exactly what he was doing when back in the beginning of January he orchestrated a crazy moment (I'll share that story with all of you someday!) which led me to approach the Bible simply asking the question... “Lord, show me who you are.” And as I did that, a few weeks later he woke me up in the middle of the night with one thought on my mind... The Old Testament is the character of God. It all points to Jesus. And the New Testament is the fruition of that. But the Old Testament... The Old Testament… In those stories, in seeing God’s plan and his care for His people... is His character. And it certainly isn’t mean.
He is sovereign.
He is loving.
He is gracious.
He delivers, and protects, and provides, and gives in abundance to his people when they seek him.
He is trustworthy
He is Good.
As I still struggle through being a temper tantrum throwing two-year-old because I haven’t gotten what I wanted, I’m trying hard to hold tight to the truth that God is indeed good and trustworthy. Not because he has given me what I want, but because that is who he is... regardless of my circumstance.
And in the meantime, I can hold tight to his character and his promises and know that he indeed is working all things together for the good of those who love him.
And those 5 months of tears, well they weren’t wasted. He used those too. In more ways that I would imagine I will know this side of eternity. He changed me. He was right there beside me. He showed me that even in my brokenness, even in my pain, even when I didn’t have a clue what life looked like, He was right there with me. I just needed to seek him.
I still have a lot of questions and doubts. To be quite honest, the struggle is still incredibly real right now. And I still hurt a lot. And I’m still praying for the Lord to work in some big ways, whatever that ends up looking like. And while I continue to work through all of that, I can rest on the truth that HE IS GOOD. Even when it doesn't feel that way. And cue more sobbing.