Ugh. Y’all. Writer’s block is the worst. I’ve been sitting at my computer every weekend for months trying to get these words on the page and as inspired as I feel, nothing comes. For some reason it has been difficult for me to find those clear, concise, and compelling words which communicate the senses, thoughts, feelings, and experiences I desire to share with you. I lay awake at night dreaming about the end result of this piece, I sit at my computer drafting story after story, metaphor after metaphor. I eat meals in silence as my brain teeters on the edge of revelation, I sip coffee while my emotions and feelings make connections between big events, themes, and stories. I come back to the computer to pull all of these things together and I. am. stumped.
So, if I put all of that aside, all I really have to say is this: God is good. I don’t know why this is such a challenging thing to write about, except that it has become something so much more to me than a phrase in this past year. It has become everything to me, so I want to get it right when I talk about it. But I can’t prove it to you. So instead I’ll share a little moment when I knew it to be the truest thing I’ve ever known:
The other day a TV show triggered an anxiety attack (silly, perhaps, but very, very real). I began to feel overwhelmed, a slight sense of panic creeping into my chest as my heart started to pound faster and faster. I finished off my beer in a quick swig, got up off the couch and looked to my refrigerator, wondering if I had any white wine chilled, or perhaps a bottle of red wine…Something, anything, to dull this insanity, this uncontrollable fear and anxiety. Tears began to flow out of my eyes as I realized I couldn’t hold myself together anymore: the betrayal, the rejection, the loss, the pressure all hit me as I slowly sat down on the floor. I knew that another beer couldn’t help me anymore than any number of my other fixes.
I sat there for a while, breath quickening, body shaking; eventually I stood up, paced back and forth across the room, toddled over to the bathroom, stared at my red eyes in the mirror, and weakly smiled.
“God is good.”
You see, I can’t figure this one out. My anxiety doesn’t make sense if God is good. It doesn’t make sense to me that my best friend in the whole world would be taken from me at the age of 12 because of some dark disease called cancer. I don’t know why hearts break, why people break hearts. I can’t wrap my head around war and genocide. Around Aleppo, Istanbul, Cairo.
We wake up each and every day to a nightmarish world that seems to be spinning itself closer and closer to destruction. And it feels like we cannot get off, we are unable to really wake up to daylight no matter how hard we try.
And yet my heart is filled to the brim with this truth: God is good.
My heart is not only filled, it is changed. My anxiety, the loss, the betrayal, the nightmares of our world filter through this lens of hope in the goodness of a God who loves me and loves his creation enough to be Emmanuel. And so I stare at my red eyes in the mirror and smile. I breathe in the knowledge that I have a Savior, an Emmanuel, a good God. My anxiety will likely come back to attack again. I will most certainly continue to experience the darkness of this world through loss, betrayal, and fear. The grotesque stories on the news will not stop.
But God’s goodness isn’t going anywhere either. He will continue to bring praises to my lips as he fills me up each and every day, taking care of me at every turn of the page.
Friends, the goodness of God is not quiet, it is not hidden from you, nor does it lie dormant. My story is my own, and God has proven his goodness to me over and over in and through it all. He’s doing the same in your story. My prayer is that you would have the eyes to see it.
Photo by Ian Stephenson