It is easy to believe that God is good when life is good. But what about when life is not good?
Where is God when the slave remains captive? When the sick die? When the lost are not found? Is He still good? What happens to a faith that is based on a God who delivers?
These types of questions rarely lead to satisfying answers as often as they led to deeper, more uncomfortable questions. Will I only believe if God explains His actions or gives me what I want? Do I trust that God remains when everything else collapses? That He is enough?
These questions led me to Matthew 9:1-8:
“Jesus stepped into a boat, crossed over and came to his own town. Some men brought to him a paralyzed man, lying on a mat. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the man, “Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.” At this, some of the teachers of the law said to themselves, “This fellow is blaspheming!” Knowing their thoughts, Jesus said, “Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts? Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the paralyzed man, “Get up, take your mat and go home.” Then the man got up and went home. When the crowd saw this, they were filled with awe; and they praised God, who had given such authority to man.”
Maybe my problem with uncomfortable questions lies within the box of acceptable responses I try to force upon God.
As if I know better than Him.
The people wanted a physical healing but Jesus recognized sin as the more vital problem. Furthermore, Jesus had reason to address the sin first. The man’s physical healing validated that Jesus had the ability to forgive sins. The plan was bigger than a physical healing.
Can I accept that the plan is bigger?
Maybe the slaves bring God greater glory in captivity. Maybe He chose a spiritual healing over a physical one for a reason unknown to me. And no one is lost to God – He knows exactly where I am and what I need.
Where was God when my walls collapsed? He was with me, in the valley of the shadow. Accomplishing a bigger plan.
God is good. All the time.
*from the archives