Believing God’s Goodness (When Life is Not Good)
A week before it happened, I told my husband: “I wish I could rent a cabin in the middle of nowhere, where no one could find me, and I didn’t have any work to do but dishes.” I spent most of that week trying to find said cabin, but everything in northern Michigan is booked on such short notice. Instead, I set aside my wishful escape and kept at my hectic pace: Writing, managing, caring for my preschooler and toddler, planning, buying, making meals; cleaning my house, hosting college students, making it to church. Nothing was optional.
Tuesday nights I headed to a local soccer field to play on a local women’s league, something I’d added to my schedule to challenge myself. I wasn’t much for team sports and figured it would be good for me to try. It was my sixth game, five minutes in when I heard my leg snap and fell to the ground in excruciating pain.
And everything stopped.
The pain was worse than anything I’d experienced but I figured it must be a torn muscle or my ACL. Instead, it was my knee: Broken in two places. “You’re going to need surgery within a week,” The doctor said, holding my X-ray to the light. “Minimum eight weeks no weight-bearing, physical therapy after that.”
In five minutes, my summer plans, my mobility, my ability to care for my children, cook meals, even pick out my own clothes or dress myself – all of it changed. I went from doing it all to doing nothing. I went from running my home for having it run for me. My children were watched by kind community members and family, a different person every day. My husband cooked all the meals, disciplined the children, taught our Sunday School class, shuttled between his own full-time job and the full-time job of caring for me. We could no longer sleep in our upstairs master bedroom, and instead took the daybed in the guest room – him on the trundle, me surrounded by pillows, taking medicine every two hours off a LEGO table nightstand.
The Pain of Inability
Through the tears, the physical pain, and the emotional pain of giving up everything that gave me purpose and joy, I was forced to meet God on my living room couch. The woman who tried to do it all had to ask everyone else to do it for her (without controlling how they chose to do it). Here in inability, I have faced the ability of a kind and good God.
The broken leg and consequential surgery come on the heels of a four-year battle with autoimmune disease, which has changed my ability to “do” before. But this season has taken that inability and multiplied it, causing me to ask the Lord: “I don’t know why. I don’t understand. I know you are good – but are you good to me?”
I preach His goodness to others. But can I believe it for myself?
If everything stops and my whole life changes, can I trust that God loves me still?
Do You Believe His Goodness is True for You?
It is a question we all must ask in our hard seasons. For those not as Type-A as myself, being couch-bound may not sound so difficult. Perhaps for you the constant demands of a high-stress season force you to believe God’s goodness for you. Or maybe it’s the family issues God has led you to confront – when your natural bent is to run from conflict. Whatever it is, I believe God leads us up and into the very challenges from which our fleshly selves would run. He shows us our grasping hands.
We say we give everything to Him, but we hold back the places we deem harmless, holiness unneeded. Those are the places He takes us. Those are the traits and habits and things taken-for-granted He invites us to sanctify with Him.
I have had to ask, with five more weeks of bed rest ahead: “If everything changes do I still believe Your kindness is for me?”
And if everything changes for you, do you believe His goodness is true for you still?