“Don’t forget to button your top button,” she said. Our pastor had preached years ago about the goodness of God. If we don’t button our top button of our shirt first, the rest of the shirt can end up all caddywhompus. If we don’t believe He is good, the rest of life is just a mess.
This friend was reminding me of this truth as I questioned His goodness in the midst of deep grief. We lost a friend, a brother, a fellow believer. He was young. His wife and daughter are precious to us. He was precious to us. His death was tragic and untimely. And yet, our God ~ his God ~ is still good.
My parents just moved overseas and there is a hole in our lives and a gap in our hearts. Our dog of 10 years has just been diagnosed with Stage 3 cancer, and we honestly don’t know what that means. We just grieved a scary experience with my bout of myopathy. Everything feels like we have no control. It makes us want to shut down the part of our hearts that allows us to feel anything good so that we don’t have to feel all the bad too. We feel vulnerable to all of it.
Just like Lewis reminds us in the midst of Narnia, the King is not always safe, but He is good. He’s the King. I can honestly say that I haven’t felt safe in the midst of this grief. Nothing feels safe. I will talk more about the fragility of life later, but all the questions have come and the ground feels shaky. Nothing of this world feels safe or trustworthy. We do feel its holiness, though.
Thankfully the Lord has slowly let us see things, feel things, and experience Him in the midst of reeling and grieving. Stories were told of His goodness in and through our friend. There were holy moments that captured the Lord’s goodness. I had sat on a porch, less than a week before his death, with this friend and talked about the Body of Christ and serving one another. The Lord was good then, and He was still good as I loudly begged Him in my living room to spare my friend’s life. I kept screaming, “C’mon Lord! You can do this! This is your deal.” And in the moment that my begging turned to weeping, the Lord was still good. He is still good even though a precious 5 year old doesn’t have her daddy here. It feels unsafe and vulnerable, and it is. But He is good.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever. Psalm 23:6
His goodness is not because of this world or because of us. He is good because of Him. Our God is the very essence of good. He is a good King. And He is far more wrapped up in the big picture. There is a bigger *good* story happening around us. Goodness goes beyond what we can understand. Goodness is eternal, as is our friend’s life. Goodness goes on far past what we know or experience here on earth…Honestly, the Word tells us it’s BETTER.
One of the most profound things that the Lord has solidified in me during this time is the depth and height of the spirit world and the reality of eternity. That may sound weird to some and maybe even creepy, but I’m understanding deeply that far more is happening in this battle than what meets the eye. It looks bad from our perspective some days. We can feel like Job, and think there is nothing good about a God who allows all this bad to exist. And yet, He put the world into motion and He invites us to participate. When the Word says His ways are higher and His thoughts are loftier, there is so much we don’t see. He is on a fierce mission to bring the Kingdom here. He most certainly fights for His Kingdom coming. We only have a snapshot of all that God is doing and all that He has already done.
If we believe in this God, we have to trust His goodness. We may not always feel good, but He is always good. We may feel unsafe and exposed to the darkness far more than we know how to handle; yet, He will still always be good. We have to trust that His way, His plan, His motion will always be good.
And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28 (emphasis added)
His good is ultimately always our good.
His goodness is a stake in the ground. It’s the top button of the shirt. It’s a belief and truth, without it, nothing makes any sense at all. God may not allow bad things to happen. He is most certainly grieving much of what He sees. But because He is a good King, He will use ALL OF IT for our good.
THAT is a good King.
My life verse has always and forever will be:
He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end…I perceived that whatever God does endures forever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it. God has done it, so that people fear before him. Ecclesiastes 3:11, 14