Thorns among the Barbs

Thoughts on my journey to heaven

Archive for July 2012

God is Good… all the time

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Years ago that was a very popular expression in the city churches… and i remember hearing a large african american woman say that all the time.  Her life was a story of challenge, trial, adversity, and loss.  It seemed that at almost every turn she expereinced yet one more departure from normal and mundane life.. but she always came back with that response “god is good… all the time… and all the time… God is good.”  Intellectually i understood her cry, and in my head i knew this to be true.  Every passage of scripture backed her statement up… and in every instance where an older saint came to the notice of the world for something heroic, startling or shocking it was always the same song… God is good… all the time.

I am not heartless, and i do not forget to connect my heart to my knowledge, but there was one thing missing from my life those years ago… it was that direct and immediate application of this principle in my own life.  Until our job loss my view was that God was indeed good… he provided cars, a job for each of us, and good health, all the food we wanted, and a life filled with stuff.  We could buy whatever we wanted.. well, almost everything.  He provided warmth in the winter, and fresh cool breeze in the summer…. and we were very insulated from the palpable cry hidden in that woman’s statement.  For we knew a god that prevented us from knowing the pain of joblessness, or of death.  He was a God of the mountain tops….

and it was only when our jobless adventure took us deep into the valley and the shadows of death that we really understood the goodness of God, walking us through times when we were not certain how any bills would be paid, or if we would have food on the table.  He provided.  Never beyond exactly what we needed, but his provision has been right on time, precise, calculated, and a blessing.  And he has held us in those emotional times when the world just did not seem right, or we wondered what else would be taken from us… but as the dust settled we knew he was looking out for us.  He cleared our plates of the burdens of excess, providing just what we need.  Is God Good?  Amen

Is God’s way my way? Not on your life.  But is his goodness better than my very life? You Bet. 

So i think back those many years, and still hear that deep growly voice shout from the depths of her soul “God is Good… all the time”… yes, in the death of a son,  and in the loss of that job, and in the time when a spouse walked out, and when the car died, and the house is falling apart.  Is God able to meet the need? Absolutely.  Does he want us looking to him for everything – Yes?  Does he take joy in being our provider, our savior and our friend – Amen.

So the God of the mountain tops does visit the valleys, the deep places where there is great pain, and challenge.  And he walks with us through these places, and stays with us as we ourselves change, shed the garments of materialism, and of greed, and of selfish desire…  For you see, we had worn worldly garments of self fulfillment, of greedy behavior, of indulgence, and of taking for granted the opportunities he had placed in our lives.  That valley shook us to the core.  Bankrupcy – of our souls, emotions, spirit and of our wallet… everything felt like it was stripped away, or ripped away.  In those moments i remember saying to God over and over “Please dont let us be homeless!”  And slowly we emerge from those  rags we once wrapped around ourselves, naked, sad that we have gotten it wrong for so long.  The message of worldly materialism is a distructive one, masquarading itself in a cloak of luxury, and desire, appealing to the deepest fleshly desires… and it was in direct opposition to the God of Creation.  He had other plans.  He allowed us to have alot stripped away – naked emotionally, financially, spiritually.  And naked we find ourselves being handed garments of praise, richly appointed clothing of humility, of dependence, and of selflessness.  We are no longer our own, and we no longer look like the world.  We emerge from the valley dressed in the garments of our God, prepared for us, that we may proclaim to every ear that will listen “God is Good… all the time”.  The climb up the mountain from the valley is challenging.  Rebuilding our lives is not for the faint of heart, but God has known that he designed us for his service, and for surrender from the world. 

Perhaps you ar e there… the economy has thrown you down for the count, left you wondering what your life is about or how you will ever regroup and move forward.  That same God who is Good will be there for you, and see you through this adventure, until one day you kneel in his presence in heaven, with this world’s struggle ended, and eternity beginning free of all of this.  My challenge is look to Jesus… fix your eyes on him, read his word, and yield your emotions and your mind to his spirit.  Stop letting the emotions lie to you, and let Jesus show you his goodness, his kindness, his mercy and his grace.

What is keeping you from yielding to his sovereign will today?

 

Written by Barbara Bloom

July 17, 2012 at 11:07 PM