Life can be such a collection of contrasts. Good and evil, easy and hard, young and old, healthy and sick…all living under the same sky. In my over-thinking head, I sometimes find that hard to deal with. It seems like everywhere I look lately, there is a friend dealing with something very hard. I can think of several who are deeply tested and tried at this moment. Yesterday afternoon, I was thinking of a few of these beloved people in my life and began to cry, feeling their burden and hurting in their hurts. About an hour later, I spoke with someone who gushed about the perfection of her life…how her kids get along, how soundly they sleep, how amazing she feels, how well they’re doing in school, how happy they all are, etc. This was an unexpected, unprepared for contrast to what so many are living through in my world. There is nothing wrong with anything this person said. How wonderful for her that her life is that great. None of that bothered me. What bothered me is that throughout her descriptions of her life of ease, she kept saying, “We’re so blessed. God is good. Yes, just so blessed.” I walked away thinking, yes God is good and yes, you are blessed. We all are. BUT, the circumstances of life do not influence God’s goodness. It’s easy to say God is good when life is good, and we are right in saying it. It’s hard to say God is good when life is hard but we’re still right in saying it. God is good when we’re depressed. God is good when we’re grieving. God is good when we’re rejected. God is good when we’re on the verge of bankruptcy. God is good when our kids rip our hearts out. God is good when life becomes too overwhelming to bear. God is good. I’d love to hear someone say, or better yet, I’d love to hear myself say, “Life is hard. God is good. And yes, we’re blessed.”
Years ago, I went through a really dark and difficult time of life. I learned so much about God’s goodness and how different it is from the way I define goodness. I naturally think of “goodness” as an absence of “badness”. Using that definition, that means that God displays His goodness to me by keeping bad out of my life. I cringe to even type that because it is SO far from the truth. The badness in my life was the perfect canvas for God to paint His goodness on my soul. I specifically remember a time during this dark period in which I was praying to God and asked, why can’t my life just be easy? His answer was so clear…because ease is not good for your soul. At that moment, I realized that God would always do what is best for my soul, not necessarily what is best for my body, portfolio, confidence, etc. I have found so much rest in that truth, especially through trying times. Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that in all things, God works together for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” This verse seems often misquoted to me. It seems like people interpret “the good” mentioned here as an earthly good, equated with ease or lack of difficulty. I believe the “good” in this verse is defined in the next verse, 29, “For those God foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brothers.” If something is conforming us to the likeness of His Son, it’s good! Repeat, if something is conforming us to the likeness of His Son, it is good! Therefore, let’s all heartily say… Life is hard. God is good. We’re blessed.