The Christian life often has the reputation of being a happy-go-lucky existence. Everything goes right and all the endings are happy. This couldn't be further from the truth. The Bible actually shows us the opposite... that following Jesus is hard. There are trials and enemies and temptations and suffering. The message that the Gospel proclaims is this: The Christian life is far from easy, but Jesus is worth it.
You see, anyone can follow a God who promises safety and ease and comfort. Anyone can follow someone like this when everything is going well. But it's in the tough times, when the onlookers see us heartbroken and still faithful to our God, that they see the message of the Gospel. He remains faithful, no matter what. Discomfort and tragedy doesn't mean He loves us less, just as prosperity doesn't mean He loves us more. It is not for us to understand. It is only for us to believe.
But in this we can trust: all things are working for His glory. He is good, regardless of circumstances. We cannot see His bigger purpose, but we can trust that He will keep His promise to be faithful to us. I'm not sure how, but He loves us with a constant, unchanging love.
The first time I heard the song "Good, Good Father," I immediately bathed my fears and guilt in its truth:
Oh, I've heard a thousand stories
Of what they think You're like
But I've heard the tender whispers
Of love in the dead of night.
And You tell me that You're pleased
And that I'm never alone.
You're a good, good Father.
It's Who You are, it's Who You are, it's Who You are,
And I'm loved by You.
It's who I am, it's who I am, it's who I am...
This love so undeniable I can hardly speak
Peace so unexplainable I can hardly think
And You call me deeper still
And You call me deeper still
And you call me deeper still into love, love, love
You are perfect in all of Your ways to us.
Three years ago today, my dear friends Jeremy and Kristin lost their sweet Sophia at 37 weeks along. And I promise you that singing that line–"you're a good, good Father"– is not something they do lightly. They know it deep down in their soul, because they have felt Him every step of the way. He became even more real to them when they rested in the "I-don't-understand" and whispered, "I will trust you anyway."
God has turned so much of my own mourning into joy. It's my favorite thing about Him.
He is PERFECT in all of His ways to us.
"Return, O my soul, to your rest, for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you." Psalm 116:7
"But let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord." Jeremiah 9:24
"This God–His way is perfect; the Word of the Lord proves true; He is a shield for all those Who take refuge in Him." Psalm 18:30, 2 Samuel 22:31
Cara Cobble Trantham is a freelance writer whose passion is to encourage women of all ages to draw closer to the Lord. She lives in Greeneville, Tennessee, with her husband and one-year-old daughter. She loves to send cards in magazine envelopes, counsel ladies over sugar and cream (with a little bit of coffee), and read a good book at the beach. Her bucket list includes eating pizza in Chicago, staying at a bed and breakfast in Savannah, and following a recipe without leaving out an ingredient.