Rethinking “God is Good”…yes, again…!

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In my most recent post, about how I chose to sleep rather than talk with a dear friend, which led to me feeling frustrated with the ongoing fatigue, but how I then felt confirmed in claiming God’s goodness because it turned out that she wouldn’t have been able to talk at that time, either…., I seem to have fallen into the “easy” pattern of thinking that if good things happen, then yes, God is good. Ugh!! That is what I’m trying to “overcome”!!  Or at the very least, rethink.  But there I went, having my belief that “God is good” seemingly reaffirmed because I had a difficult situation and it all turned out all right in the end.  And by the way, my friend and I have managed to talk between then and now, having a wonderful conversation. And yes, I am very grateful for that.  🙂

But what if that hadn’t happened? What if the message she had left on my voicemail had said, “I’m tired of you not being there for me.  I’m tired of feeling blown off.  I’m tired of you being ‘too tired’ to talk!  I’m sorry, Deb, but I can’t do this any more.  Call me when you’re well again.”  Would I have been able to immediately claim, still, that God is good?  Would I have been able to hang on to my belief in the Goodness of God, and try to work through the difficult situation with my friend?? That is the challenge. That is the struggle.  That is my hope…..

It is so hard, though.  I guess on some level, I want to believe that God has got my back, that God is looking out for me…that God wants things to work out for me just as much as I want them to work out….

And therein lies the rub, I think.  God does want things to work out for me just as much as I want them to work out.  I am convinced of that.  But I am not convinced that the “things” we want, God and I, as well as the way that we want them to work out, are necessarily the same!

I want things to work out so that I am comfortable, healthy, and happy.  I want things to work out with ease and convenience.  I want things to work out sooner rather than later!  I don’t want to have to experience discomfort, or pain, or anger, or fear, in order for things to “work out.”  I don’t want to have to work too hard or be too inconvenienced so that things might go the way I think they should.  I don’t want to have to wait for inordinate amounts of time, whether months, years, decades, or even a lifetime, to witness things finally working out….

Somehow, though, I suspect God doesn’t necessarily feel the same.  I certainly do not believe that God desires discomfort, pain, fear, inconvenience, or any other seemingly unpleasant experience for us.  Nor do I believe that God gleefully doles out pain and suffering in any way, shape, or form.  What I believe God does want for us, above all else, is healing and wholeness, for us to know that we are beautiful and accepted, forgiven and loved….And I wonder if God–reluctantly and with a heavy heart–allows us to walk through those fires of pain and suffering, walking right alongside with us the whole way…hoping that as we move through our discomfort and fear, our pain and frustration, we will move closer to being healed, closer to wholeness, closer to claiming for ourselves the utterly complete acceptance and incomprehensible love God offers us each day of our lives?  I believe that God wants those things for us so much more than for us to simply be comfortable, healthy, and happy….

So, what if I learn at some point that this fatigue is not going to go away?  What if the lower energy level that I have been living with for just over seven months now is not temporary, as I’ve been telling myself–and counting on–but is the “new normal”?  What if, for the rest of my life, part of how I identify myself is as a person who experiences chronic fatigue??  I guess I don’t know what that will mean, entirely.  But I continue to need to believe in the Goodness of God.  I might question God as to how this is helping me on my journey toward wholeness…. I might argue that this is not something I need to move me closer to being ultimately healed…. I might very well be angry at God (in fact, to say I “might be” angry at God implies a sense of “someday…” and belies the fact that I already am!)….  But I will continue to hold on to my belief that God is Good.  I will continue to trust in God’s Goodness, clinging to the belief that it is so much bigger and more encompassing than my understanding, and even my experience, of goodness.  And I will try to walk through the fires of pain and suffering with courage and grace, knowing God is walking alongside me, listening for God’s voice that whispers, “You are my Beloved” even as I shout and cry and rage against God, and believing, deep in my soul, that God is Good.

Thoughts?  🙂

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4 thoughts on “Rethinking “God is Good”…yes, again…!

  1. patslentz

    Yes, you are right – God is walking alongside you and you are God’s beloved. AND God is big enough to take our rage and anger and give back unconditional love in return. The way your are handling and responding to this situation is incredible and I find inspiration from you.

    • Thank you, Pat, for your kind words, again, and for your affirmation of God’s steadfast presence and love. Clinging to that seems, to me, like the “bottom line” of what a life of faith is about….. That’s what I think today, anyway! 🙂

  2. Jenny Sebastian

    Don’t get too discouraged friend! I stumbled across a beautiful letter you had written to me in the early 1990’s filling me in on your adventures . Although I held on to the letter (I only hold on to the “valuable ones”); I wondered “Did I ever write her back??” As I am not certain I know the answer; I am going to look to your good graces to affirm that no lapse of time (for me as you know that can be an exceptionally long time !!!!) can lessen a valuable friendship. I have thought about you often and it comes as no surprise to me that you are confronting this illness with dignity, sincerity, and grace. I hope to keep up with your progress and learn more about you and your family through this blog. This particular post brought to mind one of my favorite songs “There is a Reason for it All” performed by Alison Krauss of Union Station. Perhaps you have heard? If you have not I hope you have an opportunity to give it a listen.

    • Hey Jenny!!! SO good to hear from you! 🙂 Thanks so much for not only taking the time to read some of my reflections, but to write a note, too!! And no, our friendship has certainly not been diminished in any way by the time that has passed, nor by the number of letters that have passed (or not?!) between us over the years. 🙂 I had not heard the song you mentioned, but I did just listen to it now. It is, indeed, beautiful and one I will listen to again. Thanks for sharing it with me! What I’ve been going through these past 8 months has defintely been thought-provoking for me, and life-changing in some ways. I’m really trying hard to not just take it “at face value”…. If I did that (i.e., when I do that!), it becomes too easy for me to slip into feelings of frustration, anger, even a little self-pity. And I really don’t like to be in that place! Anyway, it’s about my bed-time 🙂 , but thank you, really, Jenny–for taking the time to read some of my not-so-brief reflections, and for getting in touch! Hope all is well with you!!

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