We left Gunnison, Colorado on the Sunday touted to be the “peak weekend” for fall foliage. In the middle of nowhere, headed to Estes Park, we hit the mother of all traffic jams. With no cell service we couldn’t find an alternate route even if there was one. Doug resorted to the radio for entertainment and found a scratchy signal for the bronco game. He kept adjusting the dial hoping for improvement. Since the Broncos were playing so poorly, the listening conditions seemed fitting. But, eventually, in time to hear the punishing final few minutes, the signal became clear. Final score Buccaneers 28, Broncos 10.
It made me wish ‘tuning in’ was always that simple. If only I could adjust the dial or drive to a better location to get a crystal clear signal from the Lord. For weeks now His voice has been unclear, scratchy, confusing even. “God, why can’t I hear you clearly and what do I do next,” I demand.
Have you ever felt as if you’ve lost your signal to the Lord? You pray but you’re still as confused as ever? While trying to figure out your next step, you’re frustrated and impatient with His silence. Then, because it seems futile, you quit making the effort. And just like that you’re disconnected.
Here’s the thing… the problem is not with God; the problem is with us.
We often miss His guidance, because we don’t give Him free reign. Instead we filter His voice listening only for confirmation of our narrow desires. We attempt to manage the outcome by managing God. And He refuses to work that way.
Isaiah 55:8,9 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. 9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
When we experience God’s silence and sense his absence, it’s vital we know and trust His presence.
Traumatic brain injuries are not static or predictable. Ian’s TBI will plague him for the rest of his days. Still, he has indeed made progress and believe it or not, Ian is in his last semester at the University of New Mexico. He is dependent on support, but… he is making it. By Christmas, we expect to have another college graduate.
Remarkable ! Fantastic ! Amazing !
Still, in the wake of all of the anticipated celebration, I feel a somber weightiness. God, what is next for my handsome ginger? And then what… when he outlives his parents/ guardian? The future is dark and uncertain.
Troubled, and feeling alone and vulnerable, I turn back to His word and realize my pride is to blame. Even if my head knows the truth, my heart wonders…God, if you are in complete control, why did you let it happen in the first place? Like a retread tire, I’ve been over this ground before. But now faced with another hurdle, it seems as if I’m back where I started from, entertaining the lie that God got it wrong.
It’s a conundrum that every one of us must wrestle with. Is God good when the outcome isn’t?
God could have…
God could have prevented the cancer or stopped the hurricane. He could have healed the child or halted the pandemic. God could have doused the fire, or blocked the bullet. And instead, He allowed them.
While Ian was crossing Lead Ave in Aug 2017, a truck traveling 40mph hit him, dumping him on his head, six weeks after brain surgery. And my sovereign Lord could have prevented it. There… I said it. It still stings, and always will.
The test is this…
I must reconcile a bad outcome with a good God. And the only way that’s possible is to harness my faith. Until I do… my signal will remain scratchy and cut off from Him, I can do nothing. (John 15:5)
The Bible is clear. It declares over and over and over that the Lord is good. Look up “goodness” and you’ll discover dozens of verses.
Nahum 1:7, Psalm 100:5, 1 Chronicles 16:34, Psalm 27:13, Psalm 34:8, Psalm 119:68, Psalm 31:19, 1 John 1:5, Ezra 3:11, Psalm 25:8, Psalm 33:5, Exodus 34:6, Psalm 92:15, Exodus 33:19, Lamentations 3:25, 1 Peter 2:3
Faith fills in the gaps
God’s goodness is not in question. But when circumstances seem in conflict with His goodness, our faith is necessary to fill in the gaps. Otherwise, trust is impossible. How can you trust a good ‘only-sometimes’ God?
The way I see it, God’s goodness is like the moon in the night sky. The moon is always round even though most nights we only see a portion. God is always good, even though many nights His goodness is clouded from our understanding.
What about You?
Do you have an old wound that seems to conflict with a good God? Does it sometimes ooze? Pretending you’re over it, when you’re not, will keep you stuck in a rut with a scratchy signal. Even though the Lord doesn’t owe us any explanation, He will be gracious and kind as we feebly lay our hurt and confusion at His feet. That’s what redemption is all about. He transforms our pain into something glorious for His kingdom. Beauty from Ashes.
Dear Sovereign Lord, I praise you for Your goodness, even though when things don’t make sense, I’m tempted to question it. Forgive me and help my unbelief. Thank you for your living word, that speaks the truth when I can’t hear your voice. Remind me that You are good, not because You give me the clarity and understanding I want, but because You give me Yourself. In the meantime, I take comfort in knowing that my tears moisten Your cheeks. And, one day You promise to do something about it. I love you and trust your goodness. Amen.