In Others’ Words: Seeing God in Everything

Spruce branch with Christmas decorations on a gray background.

I’m going to be honest here for a moment.

Not that I’m not honest with you whenever I write a post, but this is one of those “I’m about to share something I don’t usually tell people” moments.

Have you ever heard someone say: God is good all the time …

And then someone else (maybe you) says: And all the time, God is good!

That little verbal interaction? It makes me cringe.

I’ve seen too many people use it as some sort of virtual blanket, throwing it over another person’s pain or heartache. We smother the reality of how much someone is hurting. Sometimes I feel as if we try to pole vault over the pain and go right to the healing and the hallelujahs. Yes, you’ve just been diagnosed with cancer … but God is good all the time! Yes, your marriage just imploded … but God is good all the time! Yes, your child is a prodigal … but God is good all the time!

And you, in the midst of trying to gather up the shards of your broken heart, are expected to smile and respond: And all the time, God is good!

Yes, I know it’s true that God is good all the time … but let’s be sensitive enough to know that sometimes all that’s needed of us is to acknowledge that someone else is hurting. Let’s be gracious when and how we proclaim God’s goodness, shall we? Because sometimes people who are hurting need our silence and our presence more than they need proclamation and happy faces.

I want to see God in every situation … but I also want to be mindful of how God wants me to be present in every situation. How can I best reflect Him to someone else who is mourning or doubting? Sometimes when Jesus saw others hurting, He wept with them. I want to grow in grace and offer others grace as God would, not toss out an oft-recited phrase that offers someone in need nothing more than empty words and little comfort.

In Your Words: What helps you see God in every situation? 

 

 

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8 Comments

  1. December 17, 2015, 8:53 am   /  Reply

    I detest the “God is good…” challenge-and-response as well. It has seemed like a slap in the face, at times, and one may be tempted to ask, “If this is Him being good, what’s He like when He’s in a bad mood?”

    A lot of the circumstances you mentioned above apply to me, and what helps me see Him as good is my lack of a ‘personal relationship with Christ’. I’m not ‘in love with Jesus’; that’s another one that makes me cringe.

    If I had that personal relationship, I’d feel stabbed in the back (which actually describes some of the physical pain quite accurately). But I don’t, and in having to reason it out, I have a faith that is harder to shake.

    1) God’s existence is the most reasonable answer for a complex world, and for our self-awareness – the ‘cosmic ray mutation’ and other evolutionary models utilize special pleading in overcoming the probabilistic obstacles for their viability, and that special pleading negates them.

    2) Jesus Christ existed on Earth, consistent with the NT, and was mentioned by independent observers. There is also increasing archaeological evidence supportive of the Gospels and the oral histories that remain.

    3) The only logical explanation for the Resurrection is its reality, as the Apostles would have gained nothing by faking it, and dying for a faith one knows is false is madness. There is nothing to indicate either fanaticism or metal dysfunction in the NT.

    Ergo, the Christian hypothesis is robust, and I believe that it’s true.

    That said, the ‘free will’ requirement that’s placed upon us necessarily applies to the rest of creation, which admits the presence of bad stuff. For God to shield us from it (or worse, shield selectively) would negate the principle of free will’s existence at the start. We’d be puppets.

    God, to me, is something like the parent of a teenager. You can keep your sixteen-year-old safe (well, safer) by keeping her or him at home. You know that when you hand over the car keys, you may never see them again. But keeping a child safe is only part of the parental job description, and a smaller part as the years pass. The main thing is to help a child become a functioning adult.

    This may seem to disallow miracles, but I don’t think it does. A careful reading of miraculous events in the Bible indicates that they were performed to make a broader point, and not merely to reward a certain ‘good’ individual. The recipient was simply ‘there’ at the time.

    So, like Spock, I see God in the logical sunlight of an Everything that could only have come from a guiding Hand, in the decision He made (and the heartbreak it must cause Him) to allow us free will, and most especially in the still, small voice that says that somehow, even though I don’t see it, this IS worthwhile.

    • December 17, 2015, 2:41 pm   /  Reply

      Andrew, I think your relationship with God is quite personal. Religious? No. Honest? Yes.
      And I also think God desires honest relationships above religion that distances us from him … and him from us. We feel “holy,” but we are going through the motions, reciting the right words … and we’re not changed.

  2. December 17, 2015, 9:24 am   /  Reply

    I love the truth of what you wrote: “Sometimes I feel as if we try to pole vault over the pain and go right to the healing and the hallelujahs.” If people want to be God with skin on, they will seriously consider what you wrote: “I want to see God in every situation … but I also want to be mindful of how God wants me to be present in every situation. How can I best reflect Him to someone else who is mourning or doubting? Sometimes when Jesus saw others hurting, He wept with them.”

    • December 17, 2015, 2:42 pm   /  Reply

      Scoti … you and me, we’ve come a long way together, haven’t we? And I’ll do real, honest life with you any day, my friend … no matter what.

  3. Bernadette DesChamps
    December 17, 2015, 1:30 pm   /  Reply

    So much I’d like to say about this post, but in the midst of a busy day, I’ll merely add a hearty and heartfelt amen!! … Did I mention amen? And wow. This.

    • December 17, 2015, 2:43 pm   /  Reply

      Thank you for joining the conversation today, Bernadette, in the midst of your busy day. It’s always good to hear from you.

  4. Gail Hollingsworth
    December 17, 2015, 2:21 pm   /  Reply

    I have a friend on Facebook that says that very thing all the time and answers herself. Drives me crazy. She married well, lives on a lake in a beautiful home so why shouldn’t she say that I guess.

    I feel God in everything more than “see” him at the time. Sometimes it takes months or even years to know what he’s been up to and how he has our best interests at heart. And sometimes we have to go through the Refiners Fire.

    • December 17, 2015, 2:46 pm   /  Reply

      Gail:
      It’s true … sometimes figuring out “what [God’s] been up to and how he has our best interests at heart” does take months, even years. And sometimes it’s hard, hard, hard during all those times … and yes, God is still good … but let’s allow each other to admit the tough time, and remember that God is a God of comfort, too — and we are called to comfort one another.

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