I realize there are only two more weeks of Lent, and so it is, perhaps, a bit late to offer a Lenten challenge…but I am a big believer in the “Better late than never” philosophy! As proof, I offer the fact that my two older kids and I arrived at church this morning partway through the sermon (and halfway through the service!). I also routinely send birthday cards on or even after a loved one’s birthday, with the thinly veiled pretense of “extending the celebration” (who doesn’t like to get a birthday card a day or two of seven AFTER their birthday?? 🙂 ). Additionally, this is a challenge that I need/want to wrestle with, and I find that I can hold myself more accountable when I put things down in black and white.
So, here is the challenge: to say “God is good!” in all circumstances.
To say “God is good!” is easy when things are good. When my husband and I are getting along well and working as a team, “God is good!” When my children are behaving and doing well in school and getting along with each other, “God is good!” When I’m able to budget my time well so that I can go grocery shopping, do laundry, cook nutritious meals, see friends, exercise, call my mom, and take a nap, then “God is good!” When there are more moments of peace, joy, and love in my world than frustration, anger, and chaos, then yes, “God is good!!”
But what about when things aren’t so good? What about when my husband and I are butting heads and not seeing eye-to-eye? What about when one or two of all of my kids are driving me crazy, sitting on my last nerve, or embarrassing me in public? What about when we’re out of milk all week, the kids have to pull dirty clothes out of the hamper to wear to school because there aren’t any clean ones, and I’m tired–even though I’ve napped every day–and grumpy–because I hate feeding my family frozen chicken patties and mac-and-cheese out of a box but I can’t get it together to do anything else–and irritable because I feel guilty for not having called my mom for a couple of weeks??? When those moments of frustration, anger, and chaos are so ever-present and numerous that it makes me forget I ever experienced any moments of love, peace, and joy, can I still say, “God is good!”??
I want to be able to do that. I really want to.
But can I?
I was once at a big church meeting (the annual meeting of a regional conference of a particular denomination, if you “speak that language”), where someone was giving some sort of report. After she shared each “good thing,” she would say, “God is good!” and we were invited to respond with, “All the time!” Then she would say, “All the time…,” and we would say, “God is good!” Fair enough. But at a later point in the meeting, there was a discussion of some fiscal difficulties the group was having. And there was no invitation to resume the “God is good!”/”All the time!” call-and-response…. I found myself thinking, “Why not?? If we really believe ‘God is good, all the time!,’ then we ought to claim it when things are difficult just like we do when things are good….”
Is God good all the time? or only when we like what we see? When all we can see are overwhelming difficulties, is God still good??
I don’t know about you, but I want a God who is good, all the time….not just when there are rainbows and unicorns. Because life is not about rainbows and unicorns. Life is hard and confusing, beautiful and complex. Life is full of challenges and opportunities, chaos, and wonder, joy and pain. We grow, we learn, we grow up, we change. We love, we lose, we laugh, we cry…. And in the midst of all of that…God is good!!
I believe that….I know that….Now I want to live that. That is my Lenten challenge for myself for these last two weeks of Lent. So bring on the crap, Life! I dare you! Because God is good, all the time, and I’m going to claim that as a fundamental truth in my life. Or try to…. 🙂 Anyone care to join me?