He is still good.

Somedays are harder than others. Somedays we need to know we haven't been forgotten. That we are valuable.
And, mostly - loved

Loneliness haunted me throughout much of my childhood. I waited for comfort and security that never came. Like a watchman longing for a sun that never rose - the nights were unbearably long. I waded through a dense fog of pain and fear for much of my formative years. 

Not quite twenty years into adulthood, I have worked hard to allow my God to lift the fog of hopelessness. To let him remind me, daily, of his love and of my worth. But, I confess that when the nights of suffering grow long, I struggle. I am quick to question my worth. I question the depth of my God's love. But mostly - his goodness. You see, as if on cue - whenever something unexpectedly bad happens I question. I don't know why. He has proven time and time again his goodness. I have tested the soundness of his love. In my most unlovable state He never once turned away. 
I know his love. 
I have experienced his grace.
I have tested his mercy. 
And yet - every time. Every time I stumble or someone I love suffers… I question: 
Are you still good? 

 This question haunts me like the loneliness from my childhood. How can I still wonder? How and who am I to question? But I sense mercy, even now. He speaks: Am I still good? Answering my question with a question, in that maddeningly beautiful way. I pause, letting the question and the years of examples wash over me, like my very life flashing before me. 

He was there, wasn't he? In the dark - providing strength - so I was not overtaken? He held that hand, didn't he? The one that sat empty when those whose role it was to hold it, did not? He was there when self destruction came calling. He is the One that prevented me from burning it all to the ground. He picked me up and carried me when I could not take even one single step toward wholeness. And it was he Who provided the ability and the path to healing. 
To peace.
To home

Am I still good? My God's question comes to reassure me - to remind me - He absolutely is. And I'm thinking you need to know, too. Maybe you are hurting, too. And maybe you are looking to God and wondering what your suffering says about him. Maybe, like me, you need to be reminded of our God's character. Of his mercy. 
His grace. 
His goodness. 

Sit with him. Let his kindness and love wash over you. Look at the sun and feel its warmth. Remember the snow and how breathtakingly stunning and still the world can be as it falls. Remember the brilliance of the changing leaves. The newness and the freshness of Spring. Listen for the rhythm of the ocean and the unexplainable joy in the laughter of a child. His goodness is in it all. 

And then consider his Son, Jesus. How He was sent to a defiant and thankless world. How He healed the sick and ministered to the hurting. How He preached repentance and forgiveness of sins. And then gave up His very life so we could be saved. 
To give us a chance. 
A chance to be with Him for eternity.

Our God is relentlessly good, friends. There has never been one moment when he has not loved us. Not one moment when he hasn't been caring and providing for us. As I realize this truth, I brace for the impact of such a radical and undeserved love. There is no shame in my questioning. Only love. 
Only comfort. 
Only peace.
Am I still good? My God answers my question with that merciful question. Praise God - yes. He is still good, friends. 
The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
Psalm 23 (NIV)


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