“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.” Isaiah 43:2-3 NIV
Someone recently told me, quite angrily, that God may be holy but definitely not good all the time. All my efforts to explain why God is good all the time came across as condescending towards them. They thought I was dismissing their pain. I was so taken aback by their reaction that it left me questioning my purpose as a writer. The whole reason why I write is to encourage the heartbroken and those who have lost hope. I felt like I had just failed an important test. Was this really what I was called to do?
As much as I tried to shake it off and not take it personally, I just couldn’t. Writer’s block set in. It was like I had subconsciously refused to allow myself to write. The longer I went without writing the more fear, anxiety and doubt took over. Where did I miss it?
After a lot of prayer and sleepless nights, I realized that my answer to the person didn’t come from a place of sincerity or love. I was angry that someone was questioning the goodness of my God. I also felt like my character as a compassionate human being was being attacked. My answer, although polite and “churchy,” was not the answer that person needed. In a sense, I was dismissing their pain. I didn’t realize that they were speaking from a place of intense pain and in their eyes the only person that was big enough for causing that pain was God. I’m sure I came across as someone who is clueless to the pain of others with my positive and upbeat response of, “God loves you and I’m praying for you.”
What was really needed was an honest answer that would probably mean I would have to allow myself to be vulnerable and share a testimony. I don’t share a lot of my personal struggles, especially on social media. I usually try to keep a smile on my face and post words of encouragement, which is probably why people assume that I never have any problems. Nothing could be further from the truth.
When I say that God is good all the time, it is because I have been through something. I’m not just saying a catchy, church phrase. When I say God is good, I mean He was good when I was emotionally and physically abused. He was good when my grief was so overwhelming it felt like I couldn’t breathe. He was good when I didn’t think I would see another day and wasn’t even sure if I wanted to. He was good when I was paralyzed with fear, He was good when I was lied on, lied too and betrayed. He was good during every family drama and every moment of loneliness. In sickness or health, He is good. In lack or in plenty, He is good.
Because no matter what the situation, He never left my side. He never lied to me and promised that I would never experience hardships during my time on this earth. Life doesn’t become perfect when you accept Jesus as your Savior. In fact, He promised that I would definitely face many hardships of various kinds but He promised to never leave me. He loves me so much that He sent His One and only Son to endure unspeakable torture and death just so that I could receive His mercy and to have a relationship with Him on earth and in heaven. He has never been the cause of my pain but He has always been my solution. No matter how angry I get because I have to endure pain or I want to turn my back on Him because He isn’t answering as quickly as I want Him to, He is always faithful. He is my Healer and Restorer. No matter how hopeless my situation looks, He always gives me the victory.
The fact that no one can tell that I’ve been through the fire is because He was by my side, shielding me from the flames. I came out healed and stronger. I don’t know what you’ve been through but I know what I’ve been through. I know that God is not indifferent towards my pain. He is merciful. He is the one that created me and He doesn’t owe me anything. I’m the one that owes Him for all of the blessings He’s given me. I also know that if He did it for me, He can do it for you, if you’re willing to let Him. It may not be instantaneous and it probably won’t happen when or how you think it should but it will happen.
“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4:15-16 NIV