In Which I Am Speaking to Myself: God Is Always Good
Funny thing about writing and speaking about God — all too often, I am being taught the lesson I am teaching.
I spent Saturday morning in the company of an extraordinary group of women. A more Spirit-filled group I have never seen. I was teaching a workshop, one among many, and my particular topic was about how Bad Things Happen to Nice Girls.
When we just get through this crisis, everything is going to be okay.
Since I’ve already had to endure (blank) then surely I’ve paid my dues and nothing bad will happen to me again.
I prayed in faith, God will hear my prayer and give me what I ask for!
These are my own struggles. I believed God would not take my mom from us because I believed in faith that she would be spared. Deep down, in my secret soul, I feel like I’ve already paid my dues and for any crisis in the future, I deserve a “Get Out of Jail Free” pass, right?
Weini is a refugee from Eritrea. She fled her country, leaping from a moving truck while pregnant to avoid imprisonment for being a Christian. She and her husband, a pharmacist, made their way to the United States and she timidly knocked on the door of our church one Sunday morning, asking to be a part of our community. And so she became one, an integral part of our family both at church and in my home. When my mom was deteriorating, Weini came to clean the house. When mom was demanding and difficult, Weini was gracious and kind. She cleaned with her youngest child strapped to her back, his black eyes wide and smiling. When mom died, she cried with us.
Weini loved my mom. Later, working in the church nursery, she loved my children. A consistent presence every Sunday, she told me of Colin’s amazing vocabulary when he was just a toddler. Later, she efficiently plucked Michael off my chest as he screamed in temporary terror of being left, and cuddled him in her lap where he soon settled down.
She and her husband have already put two of their children through college on a shoe string, working multiple jobs, menial jobs, just to keep their family together. They are good, generous, kind people. They love God. They serve their community.
Friday night their oldest son, Peter, was hit by a car and killed.
This is wrong. This is unjust. This is unfair.
They have already suffered enough!
The words I spoke on Saturday morning to the fifty women in my workshop now are speaking themselves to me.
God is always good. We are always loved.
Grief and loss can make us forget that we are loved, forget that there is good. Like a filter, we see the world only through a screen of our own pain.
One life-loss can infect the whole of a life. Like a rash that wears through our days, our sight becomes peppered with black voids. Now everywhere we look, we only see all that isn’t: holes, lack, deficiency.
– Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts
As I sat in front of my computer, crying for my dear friend’s loss, my son asked what was wrong. Should we tell our children such things? Should they know there are such tragedies in this world?
Of course we should. He did not panic. He did not overreact. He simply said: “We need to pray. We need to pray for them right now.”
And so he began to pray, this 10-year-old boy-man, a Spirit-led and Spirit-filled genuine and heartfelt plea for God’s peace and comfort for that grieving family.
My boy. Not a boy. Quietly leading us, gentling our grief with his own sweet and simple faith.
In that moment, I saw a glimpse of the man he will soon become.
God doesn’t stop being good just because we stop paying attention. God is always good, and we are always loved.
We trudge on. We look outside and around the loss-voids in our vision. We push aside the veil and find that there are always things to be thankful for – even in the darkest times, there is something to be thankful for. For the things we cannot see, for God, who loves us even when we can’t feel it. He does not waste our pain.
Check out the series 31 Days to Shine – 31 days of blogging about a life that glows through the cracks and broken places.
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