A few weeks ago I walked with a friend who not only has a beautiful lab, but also has kids and grandkids living within walking distance. Our walk took us past both of her daughters’ homes, and I found myself thinking about how wonderful it is that she can actually walk to see her daughters and her grandkids. With her lab!
I also found myself feeling . . . what’s the word? Oh yeah. Jealous.
And really, really sorry for myself. Because what I wouldn’t give to have my daughters living right down the street.
Now, even as I say this I am reminded that Julia was home from college all summer, and it was absolutely wonderful. I loved every minute of it. But she’s back at college now and will quickly get busy (as she should!), and I won’t get to see her every day. Poor me!
My other two girls (as you probably know if you follow me on Instagram), live thousands of miles away in opposite directions. Some days, my heart misses them more than I thought it could. The ache is real. Poor me!
So the other day, as my friend and I finished our walk, we parted ways in her daughter’s driveway, and that creepy, nasty, ugly jealousy, along with my own ache of longing for I’m-not-sure-what, lodged its way into my heart so much that I almost started to cry. I wasn’t happy in that moment, and I sure wasn’t proud of myself.
We said goodbye, I took a few steps toward home, and then my friend did something unexpected. She turned around, waved, and with a smile said, “God is good!”
“God is good!”
I needed to hear those words so badly—maybe even more than I knew. As soon as I turned toward my house I realized I had been so caught up in feeling sorry for myself that I had forgotten the truth: God IS good.
I turned the words over and over in my head.
God is good in the good stuff of my life, but He’s also good in the hard stuff. And, to be honest, there’s been a lot of hard stuff lately.
He’s good in my kids’ lives—I see it every day in the way that he takes care of them, provides for them, walks beside them.
He’s good in my friendships.
He’s good in my family.
He’s good in my church.
He’s just GOOD.
My friend probably had no idea how much I needed to be reminded of God’s goodness that morning. She had no idea how I had been wallowing in self-pity earlier that day.
But God did. And he sent just the right messenger into my life at just the right time to remind me of who he is.
Lately I’ve been trying to focus on God’s goodness. Not just the things he gives me or the positive answers to prayer I might see, but on his character of goodness. Because God isn’t just good when I see answers to prayer or feel his nearness in a song or during worship at church. He’s good all the time—it’s just who he is.
In Exodus 33, Moses has an encounter with God in which Moses asks God to see his glory. God concurs, and says, “I will make all my goodness pass before you.” Now, God could have said, “I’ll show you my greatness” or “You’ll see my mighty power” or “Look at how wonderful I am.” But instead, he tells Moses he will show him his goodness.
This word—goodness—implies kindness, generosity, the best of everything. Goodness is something bestowed on another person; it can’t be kept to oneself. And this is the wonderful thing about God. While he is good, he doesn’t just keep it to himself. He shares it with us—even when we’re feeling weak, jealous, ugly in our hearts.
God’s goodness isn’t something we deserve, but it’s something he gives to us freely because he loves us. And when I think about that, my troubles of today seem to feel not quite so big.
So friend, in the middle of your own mess, in the middle of whatever hard stuff you’re going through, remember that we serve a God who is good. It’s a goodness he can’t keep to himself. It’s a goodness that cannot be contained. And his goodness is enough.
I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord
in the land of the living!
Wait for the Lord;
be strong, and let your heart take courage;
wait for the Lord!
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