I should have warned them before letting them know my cheese was sliding off my cracker. Well they aren't stupid so I suppose they KNEW, they just didn't realize why. Sorry, Mom and Dad.
Anyway, here we are. Everyone knows I'm struggling to some degree. We may as well talk about it. Eventually we're going to talk about fear and awkward moments and fiddle lessons and PSA scores and cheetas (not Cheetos, which are delicious) and churchyness and depression and chewing with our mouths open. But first let's talk a little about God.
Honestly, I've been wrestling with the whole "God is good all the time" thing. I've been a Christian for as long as I can remember. There really isn't a time in which I have questioned the goodness of God, until now. But lately when I hear the sing-songy chant "God is good, all the time, all the time, God is good" I want to grab someone by their saggy throat skin and pinch. Hard.
I'm sure some people mean what they are saying. But my heart has been stretching and it makes me want to do and say bad things. Some days I'm a honeybadger. And it feels good.
Suffering happens around us every day. It might even happen within us every day. And we try to offer hope in the form of sing-songy chants, or we try to explain why it's for the best, or we might even try to make God look better. Did you hear that? We actually try to defend the actions (or inaction) of the Almighty.
We say things like "Everything happens for a reason" or "God is in control" or "He only gives us what we can handle". That's crap. Absolute crap.
Can I tell you a secret?
I don't think God is good.
At least, I don't think God is MY definition of good.
Because in my world, a 'good' father doesn't stand idly by and watch scalding water melt away his baby daughter's flesh. In my world, a 'good' God doesn't allow humans to be sold by the hour. In my world, when we say YES to him he pours blessing and joy and abundance into our life. He doesn't allow things to actually get excruciatingly hard when we surrender and step out in faith, does he? In my world, a good God prevents heartless bullying, he brings us decent presidential candidates, children don't die before their parents, and at the very least he keeps raisins out of any and every baked good.
Suffering. It takes many forms. It's universal. It drains us and leaves us feeling alone and helpless.
Should a good God allow suffering? I remember when my boys were little I did everything I could to keep suffering far from them. I like to think I was a good mother. (Hey, they survived didn't they?)
Here's the thing, my friend. When it comes to God, I don't think "good" means what we think it means. For a long time I told myself "God wouldn't act THAT way" or "God wouldn't say THAT" or "God wouldn't allow THAT unless he had a good reason". This way of thinking is safe and comfortable.
And it's just not working for me anymore.
Here's the thing: If I want to know God--like, REALLY KNOW HIM--I have to stop this way of thinking. I have to stop this way of living. I have to dive into truth. I have to choose between the red pill or the blue pill.
God is good. He is. But he is HIS DEFINITION of good, not mine. And I want to know Him. Would you like to come along?
"For everyone who listens with an open heart will receive progressively more revelation until he has more than enough. But those who don't listen with an open, teachable heart, even the understanding that they think they have will be taken from them." Matthew 13:12-13, The Passion Translation
Lord, help me have an open, teachable heart. Amen.