A Challenge to God’s Goodness?…

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I want to share a real incident from my life this week, wherein I was struggling with the God-is-Good-all-the-time thing.  It wasn’t a big thing, mind you, but it was a real thing.  Here’s what happened….

I have a dear friend, whom I met many years ago when we were both living here but who now lives on the other side of the country.  In spite of the distance between us, we try to talk on the phone somewhat regularly; in fact, our goal is a weekly chat.  Lately, though, with the schedules of four kids (my three and her one), her job, and my naps to contend with, on top of the two-hour time difference, it’s been a little hit-or-miss…with an emphasis on the “miss.”  But earlier this week we had made plans to finally connect.  I’d texted her, letting her know that I was available between 1:00 and 3:15 that afternoon, but that I would need to lie down at some point.  I could “flex” with regard to WHEN I laid down, though, based on when she would be free to talk.  She wrote back and suggested we plan to talk at 2:00, which meant I had an hour to get my nap in and still have a good bit of time left for us to catch up.  That sounded perfect, not only because the hour-long nap sounded heavenly, but because it really had been too long since we’d talked.  We had some serious catching up to do!  So I climbed into bed, set my alarm for 2:00, and hunkered down for my nap.

The next thing I knew I was waking up to the little sing-songy alarm on my cell phone.  But I was so out of it, it was like I was in some sort of alternate reality.  And I was still so tired.  As I was turning off the alarm, literally while the phone was still in my hands, I could see a call was coming in (I mute it when I nap).  I was sure it was my friend…but I was still so tired…. Suddenly I realized–even in my half-awake, but totally grumpy, state–that it was my parents!  As much as I wanted to talk with her, I was relieved that it wasn’t my friend…because I knew I really just needed to keep sleeping.  😦  I let my parents’ call go to voicemail (sorry, Mom and Dad!), quickly reset my alarm for an hour later, left the ringer muted, pulled the covers back up, and fell back asleep without a second thought.

When I woke up an hour later, I checked my phone and saw that my friend had, indeed, called.  Just a few moments after my parents, but long enough after that I’d already gone back to sleep!  And she had left a message.  I couldn’t even bring myself to listen to it.  I was so mad! and frustrated! and grumpy!  I had deliberately “blown off” my dear friend, with whom–only an hour before!–I had made plans to talk…because I was so stinking tired that I chose to sleep rather than honor those plans and talk with her.  😦  I was mad at myself, frustrated with the reality of the fatigue, and grumpy because we hadn’t been able to talk.  Again.  (Thank goodness, at least, that no one was home to be on the receiving end of my grumpiness!)

As I was driving to school moments later to pick up my kids, feeling grumpier by the minute, I forced myself to listen to her message, anticipating something like, “Hey there…I’m ready when you are.  Looking forward to talking today….”  And in all honesty, I hadn’t decided yet whether I would call her back….  I was feeling ashamed of my decision to sleep rather than talk with her!  I had already been feeling like I had been regularly letting her down in these recent months, so often “giving in” to the fatigue and my need to sleep during what used to be our prime talking times–during the afternoons, when she was home from work but my kids were still at school (thanks to the 2-hour time difference!).  This time I had thought I could tough it out, only sleep for an hour, and make our “talking time” work….  But no.  I couldn’t.  I needed to freakin’ sleep.  😦  It’s really hard to imagine that someone who hasn’t experienced “fatigue” like this can continue to be as understanding and patient and forgiving as she has been thus far…. I have a lurking fear that one of these days she’s going to say, “You know, Deb, I can’t do this any more.  I need a friend who will be there for me, and you just don’t seem able to be there like you used to….”  God is Good?  I really was looking hard…but I was having a hard time seeing it….

But I forced myself to listen to her message……and guess what??  Rather than hearing the message I’d been expecting, which would have certainly compounded my frustration and grumpiness and probably added a big scoop of guilt on top of it all, just for good measure(!!), I heard her say something like this, “Hey Deb…I don’t think it’s going to work for me to talk today after all…” and then go on to explain why.  I couldn’t believe it!  I was so relieved.  Our not talking seemed to have been mutually “agreed upon” by the Universe–or at least by our circumstances that afternoon.  It wasn’t just that I needed to sleep; we both had things that we needed to tend to.  And it was okay. “God is good,” I thought.  Again.  “I really, really need to trust that more fully….”

My friend and I haven’t caught up with each other yet, and I really hope we do soon.  But I am trying to trust that when the Time is Right, we will.  And in the meantime, we trust–we know–that we continue to hold each other in our hearts and keep each other in our prayers, not only now but always.

God is Good.  Thanks be to God!  🙂

Now I’m off to lie down….!

 

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