Day light savings time, ensuing sleep deprivation, and the full fury of age four hit all at one time. There were lots of tears. There were multitudinous moments of whining, full blown freaking out, and complete and utter meltdowns from mother and child. These fun hours were embellished by a climbing, curious, and slightly mischievous, elfish toddler. Suddenly, the child who knew how to do everything for herself, by herself, an hour ago, had reverted into whole hearted helplessness and needed her mother to assist her with the very acts of inhalation and exhalation. The toddler, on the other hand, who last hour was a sweet cuddly baby, ready to be held and powdered and waited upon, was transformed into a thrashing and screaming monster of independence, full of insolent capabilities, who would turn and breath fire toward the hand that dared reach out with the slightest hint of helpfulness.
It was not a good week.
By the end of the week, I was convinced that my child would never learn to read, that she will never eat a vegetable, she may wear Depends to college (if by some miracle she learns her alphabet in order and manages to be accepted into an academic institution), and that my lack of patience was stacking up quite a large future therapy bill.
Then, thanks to the wonders of social media, news flashed across my phone screen that I really did not want to see. It did not affect me directly and there was no tragedy to my family. Social media undergoes much criticism, but regardless of our taste for it, we are immediately under the directives to rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep. So that day, I grieved for those who were grieving.
There are days when I think it is pure nonsense for me to prattle on about God being good as I watch my two beautiful children. It seems trite some days to write words about how He creates life and beauty in a perfect, ordained way, demonstrated by how He calls us to Himself, in His own family unit. Not because I doubt His goodness or because I am having a hard week, but exactly the opposite. Because my hard week paled in comparison to the anguish that some undergo. My children and I had a safe and reasonably happy day. My husband came home for dinner that night. We all spent an uneventful evening together. We kissed our babies good night and greeted them cheerily when they woke with the sunshine the next morning. Loss, and pain, and the unknown future live on far different floors from whining, and growing pains, and frantic motherhood. What do I know of suffering and hardship? (I know that I do not want to know more than I already do.)
When we hear bad news, our hearts break for those in pain. The oldest lie in history comes sauntering into the door. God doesn’t really want us to be happy, does He, or He wouldn’t allow bad things to happen to good people? Life shouldn’t be this hard. Circumstances should be much easier. What if suffering happens to you – what would you say about God then? Of course these ideas are fanciful webs of torturous deceit entangling us in our own heads and impeding us from reciting the truth – that God is good – to ourselves.
There are times to rejoice. There are times to grieve. In the times of rejoicing, we store away the recognized blessings of God. In the times of grieving, we cling to the truth of our faith that God is good, because He has redeemed us, broken the curse of death, and given us life eternal. And in the times that are ordinary and uneventful, we rehearse to ourselves, and to those around us what we have learned in the days of clinging to the cross. We remember the works of God that are more than the sand in the sea – innumerable, unmeasureable.
On the days of plenty and the days of emptiness, God remains unchanged. On good days and bad, our desperate need remains, healed only by His forgiveness and adoption of us into His family. Whether it is a time to rejoice or a time to grieve, every good and perfect gift is from our Father above. Every gift, and there are many, begins and ends with Jesus Christ. Because His work on the cross shadows over our every day, each gift has the outline of His perfection. While we struggle and ache now, the hope of realized redemption and future perfection through Christ is our hope. Because we are recipients of this promised grace, it can never be trite to say that God is good.