The topic for Sunday's church service was "God is good............all the time." It began with a beautiful report of praise as one sister in faith, a two time cancer survivor, was given a positive, cancer free report after a scare last week. I knew of this situation, had prayed earnestly for this woman, a friend whom I respect and love dearly. My heart rejoiced with her, her husband and 4 beautiful children, as well as other family members. The service continued with one of our ministers, who happens to be this woman's brother, delivering the message. At one point he proclaimed that God is good and even if the results had been different, God would still be good. And so it was that with these words "God is good," the enemy of souls launched a vicious attack on our family, right there, in that holy place, surrounded by fellow believers.
The point is not about who happened to be speaking that day, or who's prayers were answered in the affirmative that week. This post is not in any way directed personally at anyone in particular. It is about the enemy and how he can take the absolute truth and mix it with lies to leave us doubting and questioning the faith that we rely so heavily upon. The truth, "God is good" was spoken over and over during that service and each time it had the effects of a knife through our hearts. At the words "even if the results had been different, God would still be good," I fought the urge to stand up and say "maybe so but it would be a lot harder to see it."
The service continued with reading from Mark 7:31-39, about the deaf and mute man who was made to hear and speak. Jesus told him not to tell of his miracle but, of course, he did because he was so amazed. Just before this passage is told the story of a woman who asked that a demon be cast out of her daughter and Jesus granted her request. This deaf man and this mother-- they couldn't NOT tell what Christ had done, they were amazed. The adversary said, "of course they were amazed, they were part of a supernatural intervention, but what if the woman's child had been struck dead instead? "Would God still be amazing?" The truth is that if God had granted us a miracle and breathed life back into Laynee, you better believe we would be shouting it from the house tops. But he didn't, and it is really hard to continue to say and believe that God is good all the time. If there is ever a time when the words "God is good" seem out of place it is in the shadow of a suddden and untimely death of one loved so dearly.
At the end of the service the minister asked for a show of hands from those who, in the last week had experienced, firsthand, how amazing God is. Several hands went up and then a few shared the good and amazing things that God had worked in their life that week. This "God is good, God is amazing" began to feel like overkill. I felt left out and I was tired of hearing it. All the great things, all of the answered prayers were beginning to grate on my nerves as I pondered the tattered pieces of my family's wounded hearts. All of these things were a testimony to the power of prayer and yet, it was this same church family, these same prayer warriors, who prayed when Laynee was pulled from our pool. The adversary dangled this before me and fed me the lie that our prayers were somehow less powerful. In a sanctuary filled with people praising God and proclaiming his goodness, our family came to understand the meaning of lonely.
I was blindsided by this attack. That morning I awoke feeling somewhat refreshed and ready to face the day. This experience left me struggling to regain my footing and get back on course. Since the day of the accident I have said the words "God is good" out loud, in writing, and in my mind. I admit that the last few days have left me struggling to grasp these words as absolute truth. I am grateful that my head knows it, even on the days that my heart does not. As I have wrestled with the emotion of the past few days, as the weariness seems to drag me even deeper into griefs darkness, I have come to understand a very important fact about our adversary. I have known this all along, but never have I had to live it in the same capacity that I am living it now. He is without heart. He is no respector of persons neither is he a respector of places. There is no level too low for him to stoop. No one is exempt from his attacks. He plays dirty, driving his fiercest blows when we are at our weakest point. He so cruelly entered into the one place that we should be able to find comfort, the pews within the santuary of our church. He used the praise reports of those who had been touched by God's mercy, those whom we love and care about, in an attempt to drive bitterness into our hearts. He used the words "God is good all the time," the very words that have sustained us throughout this agonizing journey, to cast doubt in our hearts. He is ruthless and heartless and will stop at nothing to see us fall.
Throughout the week I have struggled with tunnel vision. This grief serves as a dark screen over the window of our life. We have been blessed in so many beautiful ways. God has shown his absolute goodness in every aspect of our life. But the grief tends to cast a shadow over all of the beauty of our life and at times, it is difficult to lift the screen to allow the light and His goodness to shine through.
I am grateful for that our God is so patient. He patiently waited while I entertained myself with self pity but He did not let go of me. God IS good, all the time. Sometimes it's hard to see it and even harder to say it but that does not make it any less so.
God was good when he created the earth
God was good when Eve ate from the tree
God was good when Joseph was sold into slavery
God was good when David sent Uriah out to die
God was good when he sent his son to earth
God was good when he allowed his son to hang on the cross
God was good when he gave me each of my 6 children
God was good when Ann had cancer twice
God was good when Ann's test came back "cancer free"
God was good when he gathered Laynee into his arms, leaving us with broken hearts
God is good...........all the time.
Be sober, be vigilant;
because your adversary the devil,
as a roaring lion, walketh about,
seeking whom he may devour:
I Peter 5:8