I used to think God’s goodness fluctuated and was revealed through how He answered prayers. Now, I know God is good regardless of the answer given.
I was four, dancing around in my parents’ kitchen when I had the experience that would forever change my life. Having grown up in a Christian home and attended church from the very beginning, I knew who God was, about His Son, Jesus, and that Jesus died for my sins. Up until then, however, it was just knowledge.
As I spun around in circles, my heart full of joy, I said aloud, “I love You, Lord,” and I heard Him say back, “I love you, too, Kelly.”
That was the defining moment for me. I knew I was His and He was mine. There was no fancy salvation prayer, no tears, no struggle, just a sweet surrender to the One Who loved me.
I heard Him from that minute onward. By the age of six, He was my very best friend and we talked all the time. I would ask Him questions about things yet to come, pray for my future husband, children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. I stopped there because I figured that was far enough into the future. No one taught me to pray that way. It just happened in the friendship I had with Him. I could talk to Him about anything and bring to Him any concerns I had.
We had a wonderful relationship where He taught and raised me, and although most of His answers to my prayers, no matter how small or insignificant, were with a smile and a nod, there were some prayers He didn’t answer with a ‘yes’. I remember asking Him once, when I was about six or seven years old if, since He could do anything and nothing was impossible for Him, He could have a pink-spotted purple pig with wings fly by my bedroom window. He politely declined. I waited up for hours just in case He changed His mind.
I remember leaving Him candy in my desk and let Him know it was there for Him if He decided He wanted any.
I tried to share…I’m sure it’s the thought that counts.
Over time, the candy just got too stale to be appealing but it didn’t stop me from leaving Him more in the event He changed His mind or had a particular favorite I had yet to leave for Him.
The biggest prayer that was answered unfavorably, however, was much bigger than saying ‘no’ to the Christmas candy canes, mints, or chocolate kisses I had set aside for Him: it was the health of my beloved Papa, my mom’s mom, and the man who was my earthly best friend and my whole world. I prayed and prayed and prayed and begged God to heal my Papa and not to let him die of the leukemia that was ravaging his body. The Lord was gracious to me and told me ahead of time he would be leaving me soon. It was God’s grace that put an end to his suffering, however, and through the realization that he was getting ready to meet his Maker, my Papa decided he should probably get to know this God before he saw Him face-to-face in judgment.
My Papa had a vision of Jesus and a chariot of angels riding winds of fire coming to escort him to his new home in eternity with his newfound Savior and, shortly thereafter, he was gone.
For years, I couldn’t cry, couldn’t grieve, couldn’t let my Papa go. I held on to an irrational hope that God would yet resurrect him and give him back to me. It was seven years after my Papa died when I finally broke down and let out all the heartache I had been holding in for so long. I had to face the anger I had toward God and the reality of not seeing my beloved Papa again this side of eternity.
That was hard.
When my Papa joined the chorus of Heaven, it was the most difficult situation I had faced in my ten years of living. It was harder still, years later, to forgive God for not stopping him from dying and not bringing him back after the fact.
Another difficult situation was the death of my cousin who was 8-years-old when he flew off the back of a four-wheeler and his helmet came off with him. I really believed God would raise him from his casket and put him back into the arms of his grieving parents.
I felt the same way when my very close friend gave birth to her firstborn, a beautiful baby girl, who died in her mommy’s arms three days after she was born.
Then another friend lost her little boy less than an hour after he came into the world.
Despite the faith I’ve had in God since I was ten to raise the deceased back to life, for reasons that remain yet undisclosed, He chose not to in all three situations.
I have no doubt whatsoever He still resurrects people from the dead.
I also know there were over a thousand people at my cousin’s funeral who heard about the Jesus he so loved who may never have heard about Him any other way. My Papa, by leaving earth when he did, was spared much heartache that happened later in my family. My friends learned strength in the loss of their babies. They learned how to really depend on Jesus for everything and their relationship with Him is so much richer now than it was before.
God didn’t cause the disease that killed my Papa, the accident that robbed my cousin of his life, and He didn’t steal the babies away from their mommies. I don’t know why those things happened and turned out the way they did. I just know that the Word of God is true and when it says in Romans 8:28 that He turns everything around for our good, it means He turns EVERY THING around for our good.
Because He is good.
And ‘good’ is all He is capable of doing and being. I don’t always understand God. I don’t claim to know everything there is to know about how He works. I just know His character, His Word, and my own life experiences. I know that He is good, all the time. And that He does ONLY good. Always.