22.jpgThe afternoon itself was like the epitome of sublime happiness. Not necessarily flawless, but close. The sun was shining, the day was warm, the breeze was gentle, health was quite good, and the joys were abundant. I was carefree, enjoying a tree-studded slope with my siblings and a camera, taking goofy pictures.

My worries were few. The only shadow falling against the glistening sunlight of life was the trepidation of my brother’s deployment to Oman in a matter of months. Yet it was but a slight shadow. It was still far enough away that every thought was not consumed with worry.

That day I was living in the essence of God’s goodness. It was a way of life, a way of thought. My surroundings boasted everything of it. In the back of my mind I knew without a doubt that God was good, and oh-so-very good to me.

Fast-forward seven days. Thunder rumbled as the relentless rain pounded against the roof, my face was plastered with an itching, burning, enflamed rash, while my heart tried to recover from the horrific blow the weekend held. All of which haunted my dreams and robbed me of peaceful slumbers.

Those 36 hours were faith shattering. It’s so easy to speak of the goodness of God when things are good and the sun shines. And even when the occasional plans get disrupted, or the car breaks down, or you get hit by the latest virus going around… If you stop and look for it in those rather inopportune moments, God’s hand is still vivid in your circumstances. It’s so easy to speak of His love and care piously when life is going normal. I know, because that’s where I used to be.

But then that day, in the midst of that storm, there was a vast difference. The questions whirled around and around my mind and my emotions fall prey to the answers that didn’t exist. When a family member takes his own life, leaving behind 3 bereaved sons, a stunned and crushed ex-wife, and an entire family battling the trauma that this inflicted on their circle that had only recently already been broken by death, where is the goodness of God?

In such circumstances, saintly clichés do not readily slip off the tip of the tongue.

Yet as the sorrows like sea billows engulfed my life, peace like a river flooded my heart.

When things are too complicated to understand, when death is purposely invited to seize a soul, when there are no answers, when you know you have a heart because it hurts so bad… that, my friend, is what faith is for. That is when the infiniteness of God reaches a new level. This is where grace comes in—grace that far surpasses anything you could dream of. That is when you can understand and repeat with Job, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him.” (Job 13:15) and have it come from the very bottom of your soul.

There was a time when I didn’t have to have faith to believe that God is good. Life was far from perfect, yet it didn’t take much effort to see His goodness. I could talk so easily of how He’s such a good, good God no matter what. But here I am today with a new awareness. A fresh outlook that is un-cheapened by sustenance of earthly pleasures. When you hurt from the inside out, when the storm never subsides, and the answers are out of your reach, it takes a resource of faith that you never knew existed to say, “Blessed be the Name of the Lord,” and mean it with all your heart.