Times are hard. I know I’m not the only one confronted with challenges and suffering. Life is difficult right now for so many people, for so many reasons.
Within the span of this last week, my precious 36 year old niece endured a double mastectomy and now faces the most difficult battle of her life. My beloved father in law died. I experienced sadness because of decisions people made that I never saw coming. I’ve agonized over the multiple stories I’ve heard of severely broken relationships. I’ve seen (and shed) so many tears this week.
Life is hard. On top of everything else, I can’t escape the news. Covid continues to ravage our world. Political strife is thriving regardless of who holds the scepter. Anger is raging like a wildfire. Injustice never takes a break. It’s hard.
However, I know God doesn’t want us to linger over debilitating circumstances. If we do, we will quickly become angry grumblers and complainers. We will slide into depression and anxiety. There’s another choice found by living Psalm 27:13-14.
For about a month now, these verses have popped up in my daily readings and been spoken by friends. I’ve even heard them in the lyrics of songs. I don’t think it’s coincidence that I really need the reminder today.
I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.
And to seal the promise, verse 14 instructs us of our part:
Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.
It’s so easy to listen to the world’s voices of doom and gloom. They are loud! But when I shift my perspective to one that focuses on God and His attributes, I begin to see evidence of His goodness. I could give you a long list of instances where I have witnessed God’s goodness this past week but I must respect the privacy of loved ones. Instead, I want to give you an example of the first time this verse took on life…in my life.
In 2007 (I think), I was preparing to visit for the third time a very special home for children. Each time I visited, I would prayerfully select a Scripture verse or passage to focus on during my visit. Psalm 27:13-14 seemed to pop up everywhere so I decided I would ponder its meaning while I was in Guatemala.
From a worldly perspective, what I witnessed could break your heart. At that time, somewhere around 400 children called Casa Aleluya “home.” Most had been neglected, abandoned or abused and therefore, the court system placed them in the home because it is safe and nurturing. Every child had a story. Many were devastating and hard to hear. Sexual abuse of the most horrendous nature. Children abandoned when parents said they would be “right back” and never returned. Children tied up when parents went to work. And trust me when I say I am sparing you from some of the most outrageous stories.
But trust me also, when I say that standing within the confines of concrete walls topped with barbwire, I knew I was standing on holy ground. And I did indeed see the goodness of the Lord. Yes, the children had three filling meals a day. Yes, they were able to attend school on campus. Yes, they had soft beds where they could safely close their eyes at night. All provided because people who are devoted to God listened to His call and obeyed Him. But God’s goodness ran deeper.
I saw children laugh and play. I saw babies rocked. I saw children loved and respected, their value acknowledged. I saw children encouraged to pursue dreams. I saw children taught about the value of education and the opportunities available. But God’s goodness still ran deeper.
I saw children learn that they could trust the God who loves them fiercely and that He honors His promise to always be with them, regardless of what the world throws at them. I saw them learn about God’s pledge of faithfulness towards them. I saw tangible evidence of God’s love.
I witnessed God’s kindness and provision. I saw compassion. I saw grace. I saw mercy. I observed transformation that could only be accomplished by our powerful God. I saw laughter replace tears. I saw fear dissipate. I saw joy.
Yes, in Guatemala, I definitely saw the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. And since He never changes, I know that He continues to pour out His goodness. When I slow down, take heart and wait on Him, I can see evidence of His goodness today too.
His is good. Always good. Forever good.
Question to ponder:
Do I consistently keep my eyes open for God’s goodness in all circumstances? If not, why not?