The Goodness of God

“Mom, we’ve had an accident”

The call came from a number I didn’t recognize, but the voice on the end of the phone was my 16 year old son, Corban. He had been taking his 14 year old brother and a friend to football practice when he pulled out of a driveway and was hit by a pickup truck.  “Is everyone okay?” I asked, a million thoughts rushing through my head.

“Yeah, we’re okay. I think the van is totaled”.

“I’m going to hang up and call dad. I’ll call you right back.”

Immediately after calling my husband and telling him to head over to the scene of the accident, I called Corban back. 

“Mom, there’s a lot of blood”.

I could hear the first responders in the background and then the phone was disconnected.

The next call I received was from the EMT. “You need to meet us at the trauma unit at South Bend Memorial,” he told me, “Corban is passing out and that could be a sign of something more serious.”

This accident was the latest in a two year period of, what seems like, one crisis after another for my family. On the way to the hospital, I inwardly cried out to God, “I can’t take anything else. How am I going to get through this if something happens to Corban?”

The response came in with a surge of peace. “You will get through this the same way you have gotten through everything else. With me.”

I’ve been thinking a lot about the goodness of God this past year. We sing of the goodness of God on Sunday mornings and we are quick to respond with “God is good, all the time” whenever anything happens, but what do we really mean when we say, “God is good”? Is it possible that we sometimes use “God is good” as a way to avoid the pain, to shrug off the struggles, to minimize the issues we are facing?

God can be good while, at the same time, we are not okay.

Admitting that we are not okay does not, in any way, take away from the goodness of God – or from our understanding and belief in the goodness of God. God can be good and our lives can still be broken. It’s okay to say, “I’m broken and I don’t know how I am going to make it through this week” without having to add, “But God is good” at the end. 

God is good, not because He takes away our pain or protects us from the storms, but, rather, because He walks with us through the storms, holding us when we can’t take another step. Maybe when He speaks the words, “Peace, be still” as the waves are crashing around us, it is not meant for the storm but for us. Maybe “Peace, be still” is meant to calm our broken, anxious hearts, to remind us to “Be still and know that He is God” – even in the storms.  

Corban, his brother, and their friend all survived that crash with minor injuries, for which I am extremely thankful. The more I find out about the crash, the more thankful I am, as I recognize that it could have – and maybe even should have – been a whole lot worse. 

On our way home from the hospital, we drove into a severe thunderstorm that caused us to have to pull off the road and wait as the storm raged all around us.

A metaphor, perhaps, of the past two years.

As the storm continues to rage around us, we wait. We mourn. We cry in anguish, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” 

And God hears us. He sees us. He is with us. 

Whatever storm you are walking through, my friend, you are not alone. God hears you, He sees you, and He is with you. He may not take the storm away until eternity, but He will walk with you even when the darkness surrounds you and you cannot see a way out. In fact, it is quite possible that there may not be a way out of your storm until eternity.

Remember, please, that God is there and His strength is made perfect in your weakness. One day, you will run into His arms completely healed – no longer broken, confused, depressed . . . 

And then you will fully understand what it means that God is good.

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