This post was first published on re:flect-I in January 2014 and titled "The Goodness of God". Remembering the glorious ways that God has worked in my life and my friends' lives is helpful in faith perseverance. I've retitled this post and I pray that a new audience will be blessed while those who've read this before will be encouraged in the journey to praise God always.
Are you afraid of anything? For some of us, the answer to that question is probably very long. Others may possess more bravado, but I would venture to guess that many women deal with at least a few things that cause us to fear. Over the years, I think I've actually seen my fears increase...something that could happen to my husband; a child being hurt, abducted or killed; anything, really, that could cause me harm and prevent me from being there for my family. But, as my fears have increased, God has also faithfully placed people in my life who have experienced some of these exact situations head on. They have been good to show me my need for directing my fears to the One who can alleviate them.
Just Praise God for Something
I have two friends who have had to endure the death of a young child. Both situations were very different, one in an instant, and one through a disease, yet both saw the hand of God through it all and continually praised Him.
I have a friend who is fighting cancer and praying in faith that she can one day hold her young children's children. She is glorifying God day by day as she leans on Him for everything.
As I've talked with these women, I hear some common themes. One, is that it helps to praise God purposefully through it all. Are you going through a particular trial? Even if you can't manage anything else, just praise God for something. A quick read in the Psalms usually supplies you with more than enough things for which to praise God--He is a listener to prayers, He is righteous, He is victorious, He is holy, and He is just.
Another theme that I hear is that God has been good to show Himself as faithful through all they have and will continue to endure. One friend even said it is a privilege to face these things and there's almost a 'jealousy' as a friend faces her worst-case scenario because she knows there is such an intimacy with God through it all. Can we understand this? Can we see the joy that our friend is facing as she fights a disease? Can we, with James, say:
Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.
As I faced one of my fears yesterday--flying--I had to replace any anxious thoughts with trust and belief that God is sovereign and that He is good. No matter what happens to me, or to my loved ones, God is good. We may not always see the good in our circumstances here on earth, but we can truly trust that He is good and He works all things together for good to those who love God.
Is God Good...In THAT Circumstance?
So, take your worst fear--go ahead. Now, if that were to materialize, can you believe that God is still good? Maybe we see hardship that would arise because of the reality of that fear. Maybe we see intense grief or many other possibilities if that fear were to actually occur, but even in that--especially in that--God Is Good. These aren't trite "feel-good" sentiments. I've seen Him comfort first-hand. It's supernatural.
As we dwell on the goodness of God, we will find that there is an abundance of joy because the fears and the fruitless 'what-if' scenarios will be stripped away. We will be meditating on things that are true, right, lovely, and worthy of praise! Those other thoughts that are full of fear and anxiety are only stealing and killing our trust and belief in God and His goodness. But, Jesus tells us:
I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. John 10:10
If you're struggling to believe God's goodness, begin poring over scriptures that remind us of Who He is. Dwell on those truths. Fight the fearful thoughts and the anxious ideas. Take up battle against the things that try to steal the life that Christ has come to give us abundantly. You will find a freedom that far surpasses anything you've known before now. You will also experience an intimacy with God as you depend upon Him for your every need.