We see the announcement of a pregnancy, and we rejoice. “God is so good!”
God hears our prayers and a job opportunity arrives and we rejoice. “God is so good!”
We recover from the disease. We heal from the surgery. A care package arrives and we rejoice. “God is so good!”
He is good to us, isn’t he? We see the sun and the moon and the stars and we rejoice. We taste the apricot and the wine and the olive oil and we say, “God is so good!”
But what happens when you are on hour number eight- again – in the Emergency Room, fully expecting, “All your tests were normal. Follow up with your regular doctor tomorrow.”
What happens when the specialist that your wife REALLY needs to see as soon as possible can possibly squeeze you in in October?
What happens when you spend year after year watching the one that you love suffer so much and there is nothing anyone can do about it?
What happens when your friend is dying from cancer?
Is God still good then?
Is God still good when the baby is born blind?
Is God still good when your children turn their backs on God?
Is God still good when your friends are suffering and you can’t help at all?
When you are outside the wall of the best health care in the world but you can’t get access?
Is God still good then?
And all you can say is “Lord, save me!” and you know above all that God is good.
It goes deeper than “he has a plan”. That too often just seems trite.
I think it is more like silver in a furnace. Like a launderer’s soap.
Even then, though – that doesn’t really speak of the goodness of God.
What language shall I borrow? What words can I stammer? When “Lord save me” doesn’t quite cover everything, what else can I say?
And yet, there he is. In the bottom of the well. In the depths where I cry. There he is, because he is good.
And if I didn’t spend hour after hour in the emergency room, if I we didn’t suffer together, we wouldn’t have seen it. We would have thought that the goodness of God is the same as oil and wine and bread and new babies.
They are great gifts of God. But they are not God. And when we suffer in the depths, that is where we most often meet him.
He is there when the dross is burning away, where the last remnants of self-help and our arrogant pride and self-assurance are being burned away in the fire, when we are exhausted from the race, and just want to throw in the towel….there he is.
In the valley of the shadow of death. He takes us through because he knows it is the only way to the green pastures.