I am afraid when my kids are riding in a car with someone else. I often have to actively push away worry over hypothetical scenarios where my children have cancer or my husband is given just days to live. If my girls are playing outside I can be debilitated by fear over a bug’s bite or a neighbor’s dog.
I am also a believer who loves God, who has given my life to Christ, and who seeks to serve Him in all that I do.
But when it comes to His sovereignty and His goodness, I struggle to believe. Let me rephrase that – I believe in His sovereignty but I struggle to embrace His goodness. The coexistence of these two attributes – His sovereignty and goodness – can make me shudder. Yes, He can do and will do what He wants as it brings Him glory. But often His glory and His goodness doesn’t feel very good.
I have seen what God’s sovereignty will allow and what His goodness can look like and it shakes me. He is fearful and full of wonder - causing human intellect to struggle to comprehend and our limited understanding to fail to make any sense of His ways.
It is the age-old question of why bad things happen to good people. I’ve heard the answers and I actually believe the answers. And I have, without a doubt, soul-saving faith in Him.
Yet I long to be like the child on the edge of the pool staring down at her daddy’s outstretched arms knowing without a doubt that he will catch her. Instead, I am the child who refuses to jump because I know my Father may catch me while also letting my face go under the water, if necessary.
No, I will not drown – my Father would not allow it. But He will allow the water to get in my nose and burn my eyes. He will allow the water to choke my throat momentarily.
To me, to this child, that doesn’t seem good. But if it wasn’t for the plunge under the water, how would I learn to swim? The plunge under water is good… what He allows is good, although it may choke and burn and blind.
And while I know the truths of His infallible Word – I cringe under the expectation of what it could mean for me.
Perhaps it is because I have seen God’s sovereign goodness displayed in the shattered body of my big sister. I have seen it in the suddenly empty seat at the dinner table. I have seen it in a bedroom momentarily vacant. I have seen it in feeding tubes, life support, and suffering hidden behind ICU curtains.
I don’t like what trusting God can look like. But I yearn for a trust that breaks down all my tightly held fear, I plead in prayer for His grace to provide a trust that seems so foreign to me therefore I find myself repeating the words in Mark 9:24, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”
I cannot talk myself into trusting God more but I can focus on truth and actively fight the lies that produce fear and distrust in God’s goodness.
The lie tells me that God doesn’t love me. The truth is “In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace.” (Ephesians 1:4-5)
The lie tells me that God’s love hurts. The truth is that God “will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.” (Zephaniah 3:17)
The lie tells me that God doesn’t listen. The truth is that the “eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer.” (1 Peter 3:12)
The lie tells me that I know better than God what my family needs. The truth is He is “the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” (Revelation 22:13)
The lie tells me that God is selfish. The truth is “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)
And still, God doesn’t leave us to our own devices and our own efforts to establish faith and trust where we are lacking. I can still, and will still, pray the words of the anguished Father in Mark, “I believe! Help my unbelief!”
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