Allow me to be real for a moment?
From my journal at the beginning of this year:
Good morning, Abba. Humanly, I work up this morning wanting to try to wrap my brain around what is happening and what has happened, with ________. And the only thing I keep coming up with is ‘I don’t understand.’ I don’t understand why [this happened]….Why, when people have been able to point to Your healing hand in so many ways…up to this point, would it end in death now?
…Sometimes, if I’m honest with myself, I don’t wanna do hard. I want easy. Like this morning. When I thought about going over to _______’s house later today, a lump of dread rose up – right away – in my stomach. I’d much rather think about spending some time reading this afternoon. Going to visit them when they’re hurting so badly is hard. And I’d much rather, honestly, take the easy way out. It doesn’t require as much of me.
But what about you, Abba? Look what was required of You to show how much You loved me. You didn’t shy away from the hard thing. And I want to be more like that, like You.
“I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” ~Psalm 27:13
It’s as if I’m needing to press each one of these words down deep into my heart. To make them somehow stick there so that I’ll actually start to believe the truth of them. Can you press words into your heart-memory like that? I wish I could. Because sometimes I wonder if I actually believe that I will see God’s goodness here. No, that’s really not true. I do believe I see His goodness in a million little – and big – ways. It’s just that I’m not sure that I’ll see it, honestly, in the way I want to see it – in us having a baby of our own. And that’s the God-honest truth of it. I want to see His goodness in the way I want to see it. For it to really feel like ‘goodness,’ it needs to look like _______ (fill in the blank). But what about His goodness in so many other things? In our marriage, in the changing of winter to spring, in the renewing of old friendships, in books and creativity and candles? Even as I seek Your goodness in this land of living, help me not to forget Your [ongoing] goodness [in my life]. Keep me mindful – and thankful.
That journal entry came from a pretty raw place in me. A place where I was struggling to hold onto hope and truth in the face of some hard realities. Some good friends of ours were slowly losing their father to a brain tumor. My husband and I were going through some testing to find out why we were struggling with infertility. And my head knew the right, church-y answers to some of those hard questions, but my heart was struggling to really find God’s goodness in all of it.
And the honest realization I came to? That for me to really feel like I’ve seen His goodness, I want things to turn out the way I want them to. I want complete healing and disappearance of the brain tumor…in this life now. I want to hold that pregnancy stick and see a ‘+’ instead of a ‘-‘…again.
And if I just keep looking at the reality of the situations around me, I’m not really sure I’ll ever see goodness the way I want to see it. But real hope means I don’t quit looking for it, even in ways I never imagined. Real Hope calls me to keep pressing into God’s goodness, and asking for eyes to see Him…even in the raw places.
Hope is a tough character. She can take the pressing in. And God’s goodness is big enough to take all of the questions.