I had a post all typed up and ready to go today, and then the bus wreck happened in Chattanooga yesterday evening. But as I got to thinking about what I had already written, it still applies.
God is good. The Bible states this in many, many verses. And the age old question is “If God is so good, how do bad things still happen in our lives and world?”
And our standard ‘Christian’ answer is, God knows best. People have free will. We can’t see what God is doing behind the scenes, but we know it is for our good. Bad choices result in bad things happening. We reap what we sow. There are consequences to sin. All of that is true. But how do we cope with God is good when something tragic has happened? When we struggle with things in our every day life that seem to point to anything but God is good?
It brought to mind a song that I wrote almost 6 years ago. It was basically the first song I had ever written and I don’t even know what made me think, “I need to write a song”, but I did and I thank God for giving it to me. It has helped me so much through the years.
My family had been asked to sing at a Ladies Meeting and the theme was ‘O Taste and See That the Lord is Good’. There are so very many songs about God’s goodness but I couldn’t get one settled to sing. So I began reading Psalm 34.
I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make her boast in the Lord: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad. O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together. I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears. They looked unto him, and were lightened: and their faces were not ashamed. This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them. O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him. O fear the Lord, ye his saints: for there is no want to them that fear him. The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing. Come, ye children, hearken unto me: I will teach you the fear of the Lord. What man is he that desireth life, and loveth many days, that he may see good? Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile. Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it. The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry. The face of the Lord is against them that do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth. The righteous cry, and the Lord heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles. The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth him out of them all. He keepeth all his bones: not one of them is broken. Evil shall slay the wicked: and they that hate the righteous shall be desolate. The Lord redeemeth the soul of his servants: and none of them that trust in him shall be desolate.
~I sought the Lord, and he HEARD me, and delivered me from ALL MY FEARS. This poor man cried, and the Lord HEARD him, and saved him out of ALL HIS TROUBLES. The righteous cry, and the Lord HEARETH, and delivereth them out of ALL THEIR TROUBLES. Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth him out of them ALL.~
I was in a state of waiting. Waiting to be a stay at home mom. I remember back then, it was the worst thing in my life. (Oh to go back to the things we thought were the worst things instead of what is now!) I had one child, was fixing to have another and I wanted to be able to stay home with them so badly. But it never happened and 2 years later we had yet another baby added to the mix. I was 6 months pregnant with her and I prayed everyday that maybe this time I’d be able to quit my job.
As I read those particular verses, the Lord began to remind me of how many times I’d prayed different prayers before and he had HEARD them and ANSWERED them. All the fears and troubles he had brought me through. Why was my current situation causing me to forget all of that?? Had He changed? Did His delayed response to my present need mean that He had not heard my prayer? NO. But waiting caused me to doubt. And the doubt clouded my memory. And my forgetfulness diminished my thankfulness. And that caused me to lose my joy. And without my joy, how could I possibly remember God’s goodness? Because I can’t think of God’s goodness and not be joyful. How can we possibly expect our joy to remain if we are questioning God’s goodness. And His faithfulness?
Looking back, I had so much to be thankful for. I was about to have 3 beautiful, healthy children. We both had good jobs to provide for those children. I had a husband who was faithful to me and my children. He was a good daddy, a good husband. And he was waiting on the Lord. But in that moment, I forgot all of that. Because I wasn’t getting what I wanted. I had to stop and remember. Remember that I had already tasted that the Lord was good. Every day He is good. When He doesn’t answer, He is good. When I don’t get what I want, He is good. Looking back that trial seems so small now. I should have just trusted in God’s timing. My daddy always says hindsight is 20/20, and it’s so true. If only I could remember that DURING the trial.
We can let all the bad things that happen do what waiting does. Cloud our mind. Blind us to the truth of God’s love. Steal our joy. So what do we have to do? Praise. Be thankful. Remember.
Could I say that to the parents who lost their babies in the wreck? I don’t know. I can’t imagine their pain. I’m not sure they can find something to be thankful for. But I’m sure they could look back in their lives and remember a time when God was good to them.
And that’s the key. We have to remember that God has been good in the past. And He will be again, because He has not changed.
Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever. Hebrews 13:8
My problems pale in comparison to what those families are facing and will be facing for the upcoming holidays. Maybe they’ve already bought Christmas presents. Presents that will never be opened. Places at the table that will not be filled for the family Thanksgiving meal. Future birthdays that will come and not be celebrated. It hurts my heart and I don’t know why God didn’t stop it from happening. But I know this. It hurts God’s heart as well. He grieves with those families. This tragedy has not changed God’s ability to still be good. His very Person is good. His character is good. It is impossible for Him to be anything but good. We just have to remember. We have to recall the times He has been good. The God that loved those children and parents and grandparents enough to sacrifice everything to save them for eternity is able to work this out for good. He is too good to not be true.
When I can’t look past my pain to see God’s goodness, I have to look back to when He has already been good in the past. It is not always easy. Life is not always easy. But God is always good. We took that step of faith and I quit my job after returning from maternity leave. And a few months later, God provided a new job for my husband that had better pay, better insurance, and more vacation. (Now we just need a better shift, haha!)
So today, no matter what you are facing, remember God’s goodness. Have you tasted that the Lord is good? I have. And no matter what happens in the future- He will never, ever, ever, ever change. He will always and forever be good. We just have to remember!
(PS. And if for some reason you are reading this and you haven’t tasted of the Lord’s goodness, please message me. I would love to tell you how you can.)
Listen to the song here:
Words & Music ©Faith York 2016