“Yay! God is good,” was my response to the news. What could have been a tragic story ended up a marvelous testimony of God’s grace and power. She almost drowned. She should have brain damage. But she doesn’t. She woke up well and whole, perfect. And along with the others, I posted my confirmation that God is good, God is faithful, God is a miracle-worker, God is awesome.
But what if the outcome had been different? What if she had died? What if she had woken up a vegetable, incapacitated? What if she had regained some of her brain function but not all of it?
Sometimes mamas do lose babies. Sometimes loved ones wake up paralyzed. Sometimes friends are involved in accidents and come back unable to speak or learn or communicate in the way they once did.
And what do we say about God then? That He is good, that He is faithful, that He is a miracle-worker, that He is awesome?
If it was my son or daughter—dead, cancer-filled, handicapped, lost, kidnapped, abused, murdered—would I still say God is good?
I’d like to say yes. I’d like to believe my faith is strong. I’d like to think I would stand, arms raised, hands outstretched to praise God in the midst of the black.
But I don’t think I would. I would beg and plead and ask God why. I would bang my fists and snot and cry and bargain and blame. I would remind Him of everything I’ve ever done that was even close to good—everything I claimed to do for Him—to convince Him that He was making a mistake, that He needed to do something, that He should prove His goodness and faithfulness and miracle-workingness and awesomeness.
Because the truth is, even though God’s attributes never change—He is always good, always faithful, always a miracle-worker, always awesome—according to my circumstances, I change my perception of Him. My belief in Him is based largely on my approval of His actions—based on what He does or doesn’t, on what He allows or doesn’t—instead of who He is.
And it’s easy to say how I wouldn’t do that, how I’d be different, how no matter what I’d believe and trust not just His hands but His heart, how I’d be thankful in all things. But even when it’s my baby lying on a gurney? Even when it’s my love in a box being lowered into the ground?
I have found in my most difficult times—in mental illness and debt and loss and trial and eating disorder and suicide—that God really is Who He says He is, that no matter how I question and bargain and blame and curse He remains unchanged, unmovable, unshakeable. And because He loves me and holds me and keeps me in spite of my questions and hurt and blame, I can believe that no matter what the circumstance—whether He stops the bad or not, whether He heals or He doesn’t—that He is all I need Him to be.
I don’t know why God heals some but not others. I don’t understand why some are called to endure when others are welcomed home. I can’t comprehend why He allows a mother’s child to be ripped from her or why He won’t keep massive tornadoes from leveling whole cities and destroying lives.
God is good. God is Faithful. God is a miracle-worker. God is awesome.
And maybe the miracle we want isn’t the one we need. Maybe we don’t see the whole picture. Maybe we don’t fully understand or appreciate all the ways in which He works. Maybe endurance is a miracle. Maybe resolve and dependence and resignation to His sovereignty are the most phenomenal acts worked in us. Maybe trust and assurance and acceptance are the greatest gifts He gives. Maybe His staying power, holding grace is the real wonder. Because it is through those we have a testimony; it is in those scars that our stories—His story—is told. It is through those we can still say God is good.
Be encouraged today. God is with you. Maybe you’re struggling, praying, begging. Maybe you’ll get your answer, maybe you won’t. But recognize the miracles of the middle—His encouragement for your journey through, His protection and strength and grace—for it is by those wonders we remain; it is because of those wonders we continue on.
They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony. – Revelation 12:11 (NIV)