Tuesday, August 8, 2017

A Broken Hallelujah

"Given the 'normal' sins of marriage, the messiness and brokenness, as difficult and wearying as it can be, we must remember that the vows exist for precisely such circumstances. You really don't need to make a vow to stick with someone in the best of times. The inclination to run doesn't exist then. It's the low times the covenant is made for." (The Mingling of Souls, Matt Chandler page 206)

Recently I was on FB, when this came across my feed...

God is good, all the time. All the time, God is good.

Some random stranger had posted that as his status. A mutual friend commented on it and thus it made its way through my newsfeed.

Another random stranger commented, "cancer in a child?"

And I had to answer.

Yes. God is good, all the time. God is faithful. God is gracious. Even when my child has cancer.

I might say it through my tears, but I still believe it with all my heart.

What if we changed that even to especially?

God is good, especially when my child has cancer. God is faithful especially when my mom's body is shutting down from ALS. God is gracious especially when my sister in law dies in a car accident, leaving a husband and three young children.

God's character is not something He takes on and off like a jacket. He is much different from us humans in this way.

God is holy (Psalm 99:9). Which encompasses much more than being without sin.

Holy is also the idea of whole, healthy, entire. God isn't kind and good one minute, and not kind and good the next minute.

The Bible says God is love (1 John 4:8). God is light (1 John 1:5). God is peace (Isaiah 9:6). God is good (Mark 10:18). God is gracious and compassionate (2 Chronicles 30:9). God is righteous (Daniel 9:14). God is merciful (Daniel 9:9). God is true (John 3:33). God is just (2 Thessalonians 1:6).

This is more than the idea of practicing these things. These things are who He is. He is the epitome, definition and manifestation of these things.

If that is true, if God's character does not change, then each attribute and characteristic is evident in each of His acts. Creation, redemption, judgement.

I don't think cancer was created by God. I do think it is allowed by God. It is a result of the fall. Universal sin. Which is why I can still see His gracious hand, kindness and goodness in these circumstances.

As a matter of fact, when we are just strolling along, and life is good, we tend to get forgetful of all the benefits and blessings that we receive from the hand of God. We aren't actively ungrateful, we are just apathetic and unaware.

But, as we paddle through deep waters, struggling to keep our heads above the flood, we feel God's gracious, sustaining, powerful right hand upholding us. He is there.

The flame shall not hurt thee, I only design, thy dross to consume and thy gold to refine.

Sometimes we feel His presence. Sometimes we see His grace and goodness in the trials.

Sometimes we can't. But, that doesn't mean that He isn't.

It is an act of faith to just keep trusting, relying on His unchanging character and person. His unfailing goodness and mercies that are new every morning.

Sometimes that act of faith is an act of complete and utter desperation.

It makes me think of the vows quote that I placed first in this post. Vows are precisely for the bad times. We don't need vows to make us stay during the good times. Vows remind us to stick it out when things are rough.

We need God's goodness all the time, but we rely on His goodness especially during the hard things...like cancer, death, loss, grief, war, strife, divorce.

I don't say this theoretically. I've lived it-especially this past year.

I still don't have a clue why my daughter lost her eye to cancer. I don't know why my upright living mom has ALS. I don't know what God is doing in these things, beyond changing me/us into the image of Christ and bringing glory to Himself.

This is a hard concept. Which is why I say it through my tears. The Holy Spirit has used Scripture to comfort me through all of this, but it was not via hearing it from others. It was as I read the Psalms, and other passages, for myself. Hearing scripture from others felt awfully like a battering ram.

Furthermore, I sat in church, and couldn't sing for several months. I'm a music girl, and I couldn't choke out the words. I just cried.

I don't know the why.

But, I do know that God is good, all the time.

And from that flows my broken hallelujah.