By Holly Culhane
How often have you agreed with someone that God is good? I know personally I just typed that statement in a text not 30 minutes ago in response to a question about how God was blessing the Presence Point ministry. Or how about the responsive reading that begins with “God is good.” Then the congregation responds, “All the time.” Then, together the narrator and the congregation repeat, “All the time, God is good.”
Have you ever given consideration to when you actually do think God is good? Is it when He’s answered your prayer request with a “yes”? Or when the great job, the fabulous promotion, or that raise finally comes through? Is it when the new house is in precisely the right neighborhood or when your child is accepted to the perfect university?
Or…. is it when you’re waiting on Him, when He seems to be silent, when nothing is making sense and your heart is breaking? When the diagnosis isn’t what you thought it would be, or when your adult children aren’t walking the road you know will serve them best in the future?
We learn from Jeremiah that yes, God is good, but He’s not just good when the sheep in our lives are listening and following, when life is going our way, and when situations are easy. He’s also good even when – and maybe especially when – we’re in the midst of pain, in the middle of heart break, and facing great disappointment.
The Lord is good to those who depend on him, to those who search for him.
Lamentations 3:25 NLT
Jeremiah’s great pain was the suffering of the Jewish people and the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple. His lament is not only the situation, but the fact that none of these tragic events would have occurred if the people had listened to him and obeyed God. But eventually, his lament turned to contemplating God’s mercy, knowing that he could depend fully on the Lord when he searched for Him. In that moment – amid pain and sorrow – Jeremiah remembered God’s faithfulness, and that knowledge gave him hope.
Nothing had changed. The temple was still destroyed, the people were still suffering a great blow and facing slavery, and the city was still in ruins. BUT JEREMIAH KNEW GOD’S CHARACTER. He knew he could wait patiently and silently for the Lord to work and accomplish His will in His time. But he also knew he needed to look for Him in those moments.
As an under-shepherd in this world, we must often make the same decision. We must choose not to rely on what we see or what we’re experiencing or what we feel, but trust fully and completely in what we know about the character of the God of the universe, wholly pursuing Him.
So, dear fellow sojourner in the faith, fellow leader, influencer, and impactor, where do you need to stop lamenting and start trusting? In what circumstance is the Father asking you to search for Him and depend on Who He is?