Monday, June 03, 2013

God's Goodness

Thursday I was in the writing mood. I was also realizing how utterly behind my blog was. I sat on the couch for a while thinking about what to write about – not so much what, but how. I knew what I wanted to write. I wanted to write about God's goodness and about how it has been poured out on me throughout the past month. I wrote out a short little post about how God provided two job interviews in the last week of May. He knew that I couldn't handle jumping right into a job after graduating. That may make me sound lazy, but I was extremely warn out from student teaching – physically, mentally, and emotionally. Educators have a draining job, and I wasn't even a "real" one yet! All I did during the past semester was sleep, eat, teach, eat, sleep. My social life felt shattered and I was missing my friends. The past month has been a blessing in many ways. I have gotten to rest – both mentally and physically. I reinvested in friendships that I had slacked off on during the last semester. And I delved into hobbies that I had become interested in, but lacked time for. God knew exactly what I needed. I ended my short post by saying that God's timing is perfect.

 I didn't have internet at the time, so I didn't hit publish. I was planning on heading up to campus the following day to publish the post all about God's goodness in my life. That Friday morning, I was in the bathroom getting ready for my job interview at 11am. I was brushing my hair when I got a text asking me if I had heard about a family whose daughter I tutored in math. I had heard that their youngest son was in the hospital and I had texted their daughter, Hannah, to let her know I was praying. I asked if there were any new developments and my friend replied that the son had died the night before. I was in shock. The tears poured out unrelentingly and I sat on the bathroom floor and sobbed.

My mind couldn't wrap itself around the fact that a precious little twelve year old boy had just died. Unexpectedly. His sister, Hannah, had talked to me countless times about him and her love for him showed in all she said about him. She once called him her little miracle brother and talked about the grace she has learned from him. And now, he was gone.

I couldn't stop the tears. Every time I thought I was done they came back. I wanted to text Hannah, but I had nothing to say. What do you say to someone who has just lost their sibling? What can you say other than, "I'm praying for you"? Even that sounded almost empty. What did it mean to pray for her and her family? Wasn't there something more encouraging to say, like God is good... except at that moment I didn't feel it. I had just written the night before about God's goodness and about how He proved it over and over again in the past month, and here I was, not even 24 hours later, doubting that very fact. I texted some people to ask for advice and everyone said the same thing, "Say that you are praying.".

I drove down for my job interview and sat outside of the store for 15 minutes drying my eyes. God's goodness was proved once again in that I got the job within minutes. The manager said I had a good recommendation and that she basically called me in to tell me I was hired. I left with what should have been an outpouring of thanksgiving. Instead I got into the car and questioned God. How can He be good and give me a Summer job when He takes away someone's precious son and brother? Is God good? Does praying to God and telling someone that you are praying for them... does that offer any solace?

Coming home I grabbed my journal and went out into the woods to think and write. I wondered how people could be celebrating God's goodness in giving me a job when I felt as if God's goodness was flaky. I sat down and ended up praying more than writing. I was reminded that praying to God does offer solace. God – the Creator of the universe is listening to my pleas and comforting my heart of confusion. I ended up concluding my journal post with a little passage from Job, "'You give and take away' Why? I don't know. But, 'blessed be Your name!'"

Sunday night I went to church for his funeral. I hugged the family and watched as they closed the casket and said goodbye to the body of their son and brother. I wondered if God was seeing what I was. It was heartbreaking.

As the funeral service began Pastor Cal read a verse and then we sang My Heart is Filled with Thankfulness. I paused when I saw the title of the song. As if anybody's heart at that moment was filled with thankfulness. Isn't this the song to sing after, I don't know, getting a job or something? Not at a funeral! Before we sang Pastor Cal stopped us and said, "You may be wondering why this song? Maybe your heart doesn't feel very thankful. Well, Daniel is experiencing true thanksgiving right now in the presence of God. And we are experiencing thankfulness in seeing God's goodness – just look at the Cross. The cross where Jesus bore our sin to give us life again and fellowship with God. God saved Daniel and Daniel gets to experience the fullness of God's love right now. What a reason for thanksgiving." We sang, and slowly God began to show me His goodness in what could seem the worst situation.

It wasn't until the last verse of In Christ Alone with the church singing in unison, "No guilt in life, no fear in death, this is the power of Christ in me; from life's first cry to final breath, Jesus commands my destiny. No power of hell, no scheme of man, can ever pluck me from His hand; 'Til He returns or calls me home, here in the pow'r of Christ I'll stand!" It was then that I realized again, God is good all the time. God had saved Daniel and called him His. And now Daniel was in Heaven worshipping before the throne of God. So there was no reason to mourn as those who have no hope! Yes, there is time for grieving and that is necessary. But, we do have hope. We can look at the cross and the empty tomb and see hope. The hope of the world took away our sins so that when we breathe our last on earth we can live eternally in God's presence. What a reason for rejoicing!

I had come into the funeral with my heart filled with sorrow. I cried throughout the funeral. But by the end I could not help but praise God for His goodness – for His care and comfort and love poured out on the family. As we left, Megan said, "I feel so full of joy because of Christ's love right now!" And it was true. The funeral didn't leave us despairing the dead and mourning those left behind, it left us rejoicing in God's perfect timing and His care and love for all His creation.

God showed His goodness to me in drastic ways this week. I doubted His goodness, but now I know again that God is a good God. He never breaks His promises and He is faithful. Even to the end. Even when the wrong "seems oft' so strong" God is the Ruler and He works all things together for good to those who love Him.

**If you wouldn't mind remembering the Eame's family in your prayers. It is still hard for them adjusting to life without Daniel, and I know they would appreciate people praying to the Comforter for them.**

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