It happened after that Sunday I sat in Sunday School and we talked about the goodness of God. I had opened my mouth and said things about realizing God’s goodness through giving thanks in all things, how the giving of thanks opens the eyes to what goodness really is, and I had meant all that I said…and believed it.
That God, He is still good, when you’re diagnosed with cancer at eighteen. That God, He is still good, when you find your six-month-old baby dead in his crib, no warning. That God, He is still good, when your long-awaited baby is unexpectedly born with severe deformities. That really, in spite of how trite it can sound in our broken experiences, that God, He is still good, all the time.
And I said it not out of a picture-perfect life with lots of storybook chapters, but out of the void of dark pain I myself have experienced and the wars I have fought within my own soul.
And then, a few more weeks pass and we’re still left waiting. The silence is deafening. The letter has still not come.
My heart is tight and all knotted-up with a frenzied feeling of panic, like a fist squeezing all the excited anticipation and joy, wringing it all out, oozing, my entire body constricted with the fear that – Maybe this hope too, will be deferred.
Would God do that? Would He answer a prayer with a hope unfathomable, unasked for, unexpected – and take it right back?
I struggle with this. This giving and this taking away.
It’s happened before, this wouldn’t be the first time, but this time it would simply be too much – too cruel – too nasty.
God wouldn’t dare.
That’s how I feel.
I read in Exodus and this one phrase stands out to me.
“My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest.”
The context of this verse is not my life, but it feels almost as if God’s own finger touched that part of the page and said, “Right here, Renee.” This verse speaks to me.
So I write the words down and my heart bows low and all I can think is that I must think and I must ponder this truth that God’s presence is with me and He gives rest...to the trembling prayers and the pacing heart He gives rest.
We go to the park with our friends and Shaunda and I sit perched on concrete blocks while the kids run up and down the cement slab plastered beautifully in artistic graffiti. I tell her how I’m feeling anxious and how I am asking myself if I really believe in the goodness of God, because if I really do believe that God is good I will believe it even if.
She talks from her own life. Her words are real and I feel that warm connection of my heart being understood by another. Someone else whose felt cynical thoughts and had to denounce the lies of the enemy and push past disappointment to keep on believing that God is good.
We don’t come up with an articulate expression of what we feel or solve the heart struggles with a packaged answer, but there is nothing so meaningful as another human being just getting you.
May 24, 2013 … I have been thinking of the phrase, “waiting in expectation” and I want to live my life believing fervently in the goodness of God, waiting in hopeful expectation! To believe, even if my life turns out vastly different than I expect or want, that God is good and His way is for my ultimate good! To wait on Him with that fervent, hopeful expectation.
“Lord, you are good. I choose to believe this. I choose to believe that Your way is higher, that You intend good, that You love me with an everlasting love and a deep mercy. Thank-you Lord for being a good and beautiful God.”
You know what it means to wait on an answer. I know you do. We all have unanswered questions and prayers, secret hopes and dreams, and in some way we’ve all experienced the deafening silence of waiting.
And all of this is a mercy. When we let our heart open to a possibility and we dare to live in hopeful expectation, we experience the presence of God in ways we’d never know otherwise.
God is alive and He is present in the stillness and the quiet of desire. And it is through our desiring that we come to know Him more fully and completely, more passionately and more abandoned. This daring to live in hopeful expectation is a dare to have faith in what only God can do.
And this faith, it is the lifeline of our destiny we cannot live without.
The story is unfinished, the journey has just begun, when you dare to live in hopeful expectation.