I’m in the process of developing a program with a friend to minister to writers who are in deep places in their lives. I’ve been asking God to show me how to encourage and share His truth with those who feel lost, abandoned, worthless, like they’ve wasted their gifts…those who are in pain and struggling…
WHAT was I thinking??
There’s only one way to really minister to people in certain situations: you have to go through them yourself. And so I have been. Over and over and over and…well, you get the idea. I can’t even begin to tell you the dark places I’ve been in the last year, the places I never expected to be. Places I’ve prayed I would never have to face. And as I’ve dwelled in this darkness, I’ve heard whispers—insidious, pervasive whispers—calling everything into question. Most I recognize as ploys to undermine my faith. (Funny, isn’t it, how lacking the enemy is in creativity?) But I have to confess there has been one whisper above all others that pecks at me. It weaves its way from the outside—darting in and out of my heart—in, just enough to cause pain, then out before I can get hold of it and wrestle it to the ground. That one low question, rumbling with mockery and challenge, chip-chip-chips away at who and what I am—
No, more than that. It chips away at Who and What God is:
Where is God’s goodness in this?
Oh, the temptation to take hold, to embrace the doubt, to question God’s goodness! Life can be so hard! Overflowing with struggle. Not the “I-can’t-find-a-parking-spot-at-CostCo” kind (as irritating as those may be), but the struggles where home or family or security or life are in peril. Hurt and fear leave us feeling abandoned. And as each blow has landed on already bruised places in my spirit, I’ve wondered what in the bald-headed-dog-snot God is doing. I’ve begged Him to help me understand. And I’ve come so close to embracing the whisper, giving it a soul amen.
Another whisper stopped me. Simple words that struck so deep I thought the blow might be fatal. And it was—but not to me.
God is good.
Three words. At first I brushed them aside. Such a cliché. God is good. Of course I know tha–
GOD is good.
I stopped. The same three words, but a meaning far deeper than I thought. GOD is good. He is the One from who all good things come. He is goodness and light. In Him is no darkness. No hint of evil. GOD is good. God alone.
God IS good.
Though still a whisper, the words rang through me. With people, we judge goodness by their actions and words. By the fruit in their lives. But is God a man that I should judge His goodness on the circumstances I’m facing? If I have cancer, does that mean God isn’t good? If my marriage is slipping away, does that mean God isn’t good? If I die, does that mean God isn’t good?
No. It can’t. Because God’s goodness isn’t about actions or words or circumstances. It’s Who He is. It’s His very character. And as I realize that, words I’ve loved since childhood sing through me. Mr. Beaver, deep in the woods of Narnia: “Safe? … Who said anything about safe? ‘Course [Aslan] isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”
He’s the King. THE King. And I’m here to tell you, from the depths of a life peppered with both great good and desperate darkness, that the God of the Universe is not changed by our circumstances. He. Does. Not. Change. Nor does His goodness. The idea that it does is a myth. A lie built on emotions and half-truths. And we, as His people, must not perpetuate this myth. Not in our writing. Not in our speech.
This, my friends, is what fills our books and our messages. We write about these very soul battles. Which is why we must be so purposeful in our words. Written words. Spoken words. Words we allow into our hearts and minds. And our most important words of all: the words we share about God.
This isn’t about expressing doubt. It’s not about being honest and authentic in our trials. It’s not about God being big enough to handle our questions. It’s about speaking the truth of Who God is. We writers are people of words. More than that, we who write for God’s glory are people of THE Word. Of the Creator of the Word. If you and I aren’t purposeful and careful in what we say about God, who will be? If we don’t speak and write truth about who God is, who will? If I’m not holding fast to what I know of God, of His character, as the basis for my words, regardless of circumstances, then what am I doing?
May I–may we all—never forget. God is the source of our words. He is the source of everything that comes to us. He is the source of all goodness. He is GOD.
And HE IS GOOD.