Still good

We went to a church service this morning that featured a guest band, The Moment, and the lead singer, Dave Bell, told his story about getting a rare eye cancer at 16 and living through it. He told the congregation all the ways his family had faith and all the ways God had been good to him, because He had performed miracles in their lives.

(His story starts at 6:50 on this video if you’d like to see it)

And it’s a lovely story, it really is. Encouraging, even. He tells it very nicely and it’s good to hear the way things work out for some people who have faith.

Some people who have faith, though, it just doesn’t work out for.

I know the intent behind this kind of storytelling is good. You don’t have to tell me that; I get it.

But the thing is, God didn’t choose to heal Shane that way. God didn’t choose to reveal his cancer to us in a low-numbered stage, and God didn’t choose to stop the cancer from spreading quickly. God didn’t choose to clean up the infection and God didn’t choose to make his liver start functioning again.

For whatever reason, God chose to take him Home.

And if you’re hearing these “yay miracles!” stories after hearing God’s unthinkable “no” to your prayers of healing, it can get a little frustrating.

Because God is still good.

God is still good even though he didn’t choose to heal Shane on Earth. God is still good even though a big part of life is terribly empty now. God is still good even though my nephew has only pictures to point to to identify his dad. God is still good even though my sister-in-law is suddenly raising a toddler without her husband. God is still good even though I can’t talk to my buddy every day anymore. God is still good even though nobody is using the golf simulator in the garage.

I’m sure it’s tempting to think that people who get “yeses” have more faith, or that God favors some prayers over others because He is unfair and unloving.

I don’t believe it for a second. My God is a God of healing, regardless of how He does it. My God is a good God. My God is a loving and just God.

So tell the world how God healed your cancer. Tell the world how God delivered you from your bad situation. Tell the world how God showed his love for you in many different ways.

But please don’t forget that the same faith that moved your mountain didn’t move somebody else’s.

And God is still good.

9 thoughts on “Still good

  1. Alece Ronzino

    “But please don’t forget that the same faith that moved your mountain didn’t move somebody else’s.” So THIS.

    I’ve had to journey through all that in my own losses (even while being told that if I’d stood in faith enough, my marriage would’ve been restored), and I know know KNOW the faith it takes for YOU to say “God is good” is one that has been refined in the fire… He is good. And He is sovereign. And He is both at the same time. Even when it doesn’t make sense. And even when it plays out differently than it does in others’ lives.

    I love you, friend.

    Reply
  2. brandie

    ditto what my girl, Alece, said. and…

    I stood one day on a cliff. behind me was everything I knew to be true: God’s Word, all the sermons, all the church words, my Life As I Knew It. before my feet was nothing but a chasm, straight down to nothingness. what was behind me meant everything to me, yet most of it could do nothing to cross the chasm before me. by God’s grace, I looked deep into that abyss and recognized it for what it was. I realized that these cliffs are the places where people turn and walk away from God. it is when all of the “right answers” don’t cross the chasm that we have a choice to make: will we believe Him even when the answer is “no”, the pain splits us in two, the mountains shake and the earth gives way?

    yes, we have victory. yes, we have healing. yes, He turns mourning into dancing. yes, all of His promises are “yes and amen”. sometimes, however, His answer to us is “NO”. there is a decision to be made on that cliff. laying down my desire for the answer I wanted was the most excruciating thing I’ve ever done. bending my knee to accept His will above my own broke my heart. and it sifted some chaff – that needed sifting. it was then that He spanned the chasm. the Lord God Almighty Himself, the Holy One of Israel, the Healer of my heart was the only One who could cross it.

    I’ve learned that our faith grows by leaps when He comes through for us, when He answers the prayer, when He reaches down and pulls us up out of danger. it also grows by leaps and bounds when He says “no” and we see His goodness in a deeper way through our pain. both are mighty and powerful lessons. as you said, one does not negate the other in any way! thank you for encouraging someone today that He also shows His goodness when we don’t get the answer we want – because we need to know that, we need to tell it, we need to praise Him in those places too. blessings upon you and your family.

    Reply
  3. Ellyn McCall

    Yes. Yes. Yes. You know I’ve been on both sides of this fence. You worded the whole post perfectly. Love you.

    Reply
  4. Lisa L Keck

    So true. My cousin’s family experienced a tragedy recently and i know they’re wondering where this miracle-working God is. All i can say is He’s still on His throne. Next Sunday is the 6-year anniversary of my Mom’s passing. Her pastor and others from her church laid hands on her regularly but God took her home and left peace behind instead. And in some ways that feels like the greater miracle.

    I lost my brother to alcohol many years ago. For such a long time i could not hear recovery stories without being bitter. It didn’t seem fair that God didn’t give him strength to overcome his addiction (but then again, he never asked.) About 3 years ago i was at church and a guy was sharing his testimony and i realized i was truly happy for him and the bitterness was gone. The healing comes, because like you said, God is still good.

    Reply
  5. Rose

    Triple ditto what Alece said. Your last line was uber powerful. To stand on my theological soapbox, this is why I’m not a Joel Osteen fan. Read 5 chapters in Your Best Life Now and you’ll think you have zero faith if you’ve encountered anything that hasn’t been “yes” answer.

    And through it all, God is still good.

    Reply
  6. Wayne Stiles

    Oh, how true this is, Mandy. God isn’t good because good things happen. We don’t worship Him (only) because of good things that happen. I prayed for years that my alcoholic mom would repent and disciple other women. Instead, mom died in a terrible way. But God is still good because His promises extend beyond the grave. Thanks for this, Mandy.

    Reply
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