God is good. We can depend on that no matter what is going on around us in our world. God is good all the time, and all the time God is good. That is easy to see when we think about all our blessings and good gifts that the Lord gives us. It is easy for me to see when I look around at God's creation when I am taking my daily walks. It is less easy for all of us to see when our worlds become shaken and when our expectations are not met the way we hoped they would be met. It is difficult to see when our lives are shattered and even ground to dust. Lysa Ter Keurst talks about this in her book, It's Not Supposed to Be This Way. Following is a rather lengthy quote from her book. It is worthy of our meditation and contemplation when we have difficulty understanding God's timing and plan:
"When His timing seems questionable, His lack of intervention seems hurtful, and His promises seem doubtful, I get afraid. I get confused. And left alone with those feelings, I can't help but feel disappointed that God isn't doing what I assume a good God should do.
There isn't any timing that seems like the right timing to be shattered into dust. There isn't any plan God could present where I would willingly agree to be broken into unglueable pieces, I just wouldn't.
And what a tragedy that would be. My controlling things would prevent the dust required for God to make the new He desperately desires for me. And isn't that what all His promises hinge on? Old becoming new. Dead things coming to life. Good from evil. Darkness turning to light.
If I want His promises, I have to trust His process. I have to trust that first comes the dust, and then comes the making of something even better with us. God isn't going to forsake you, but He will go to great lengths to remake you.
What if disappointment is really the exact appointment your soul needs to radically encounter God?"
And yet in the here and now before God has finished His work in us, His recreating in us, life can be painful. What are we supposed to do in the extremely painful emotional and physical moments, in the here and now? What if it seems as if God is not answering our prayers? Perhaps a family member has been diagnosed with a terrible disease in this past year. Perhaps someone you love or you yourself have experienced physical pain of some sort this year. Perhaps you have found yourself estranged from a family member in recent months. Perhaps you have lost a family member to death in the recent past. Perhaps some other difficult circumstance or all the circumstances above have hit your family this year. All these things are very painful.
In all these things, we need to consider that God sees the big picture which we can not see. We need to trust God beyond what our physical eyes can see. The pain will still be there, even if we trust Him. It makes no sense to pretend that we do not feel pain, but in trusting Him we will feel much less fear and frustration. In trusting Him we will find comfort in His love even when we do not always understand His ways.
We need to let go of our own rationalizations of why God does not always answer our prayers when and how we think He should do so. We do not have to figure out the whys and wherefores of what occurs in our lives. We just need to trust that God always acts at the right time and in the right way.
Instead of trying to explain things and understand things in our own mind, we need to turn to Him. We need to look to Jesus and fix our eyes on Him and not the circumstances. That is how we endure the suffering in the here and now. Also Jesus knew the ultimate in suffering and pain, so He does understand our pain. Nothing we suffer compares to the suffering He experienced.
In the process of suffering and trials the Lord is drawing us closer to Himself and into a sweeter relationship with Himself. In this process He is helping us to see the Lord with spiritual eyes and not just knowing about Him on a superficial intellectual level. The pain process is also preparing us for Heaven. To quote Lysa Ter Keurst once again, "God is powerfully at work in your life and situation. What would it look like for you to rest in that truth today?"