Saturday, October 19, 2019

The goodness of God

There is a song, "Goodness of God" by Jenn Johnson that I play over and over on Spotify. The lyrics sing to and soothe my soul:

I love Your voice:
You have led me through the fire,
and in darkest night you are close like no other.
I've known you as a Father,
I've known you as a Friend,
And I have lived in the goodness of God.

My one and only post of 2018, in January, declared that family and faith would make it an amazing year. How overly confident and presumptuous, because in many ways, 2018 was an absolute disaster. Then again, it was a triumph in how God showed His goodness to me. 

In April 2018 I suddenly entered a series of scary, painful, and life-threatening health issues. From a kidney stone, to septic shock due to medical negligence, to an infected knee requiring surgery to flush it and 21 stitches to close it, I endured a physically miserable summer. The unknown world of home health care, the E.R. and I.C.U., infectious disease doctors, orthopedic surgeons, physical therapy, and prescription meds became the norm. I had no energy, no appetite (except for coconut cream pie!), no focus for reading, and a lousy attitude. Bill and Katie took over all my household tasks, the family I work for showed grace as I healed, and our extended and church family supported us. I absolutely hated being so dependent.

The spring and summer days slid by and bed became my retreat from constant pain, from the reminders of my limitations. Every step, every turn of my body, even standing to make eggs and toast, were reminders of my weakness. Some days it took me to a dark place of self-pity.

To add insult to all the injuries, the avalanche of medical bills began. Because of the nature of my insurance and the fact of several hospital stays, doctors, and surgeons, we were soon tangled in an indecipherable web of bills, statements, and phone calls that took a full ten months to completely sort out. It was, truly, almost worse than all the physical healing.

And yet. Now, with almost all of it behind us, I see much more clearly. Could God have prevented the sepsis? Yes, I believe He could. Instead, He used it as an opportunity to draw my family and me closer to Him. God doesn't "give us only what we can handle," quite the opposite. He allows trials that we cannot handle, that are far too big and hard and painful for us, so that He will be shown strong in our very weakness. 

I had a 50% chance of living or dying that April weekend and only now, more than a year later, do I see the goodness of God in sparing me. I've always been a stubborn rebel at heart, self-sufficient and for many years not thinking I needed God. "Thanks, God, but I've got this." Well I didn't have it last year, and in my darkest moments I realized it with clarity. Not only did I need a physical rescue, I needed a spiritual rescue as well. 

'Cause your goodness is running after, it's running after me.
With my life laid down, I'm surrendered now, I give you everything.

I had no choice but to give God everything. The pain, the fear, the depression, the mounting bills. It was so very hard, but it was so good. His goodness ran after me and showed me His big love through a big rescue. Is life perfect? No. We are still stumbling financially a bit, and I will probably never chase my grandchildren like I used to. But in that, a greater good has come: eyes to see God's goodness. 

And all my life You have been faithful.
And all my life You have been so, so good.
With every breath that I am able,
oh I will sing of the goodness of God!

Had I succumbed to sepsis, would God still be good? Why do children die and mothers get cancer? Why did my friend's teen desert her family? Where is God when Alzheimer's derails retirement plans? Even the most faith-filled cannot know. But in the book of James, we are told to "Consider it joy [JOY!] when you face trials ... because the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work  so that you may be mature and complete ..." [That is, complete in Christ.] (James 1:2-4) WOW I go back to this passage time and again. So much there.

I sense a quiet stirring in my spirit. I am almost 65 (yay, Medicare!) and I think God has more for me. I am excited for what lies ahead.  

Even if tomorrow is my last day, I have seen the goodness of God. And it is enough.

Ten little Indians! Now there are 11, since the arrival of Jude William last month.
L to R: Jake, Ari, Noah, Ethan, Peter, Jordan, Lily, Maddie, Ashlyn, and
I'm holding Simon.  (Photo by Katie Haller)

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