“Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good except God alone.”Mark 10:18
We know intellectually that God is good, for scripture assures us He is. But do we know experientially that He is good, when we find ourselves in the midst of bad or difficult circumstances?
The last Praiseletter I wrote to you was entitled, “Be Anxious for Nothing.” In it we explored God’s admonition from scripture to have no anxious thoughts. We talked about prayer, supplication and thanksgiving when making our petitions known to God with an expectation then of His incomprehensible peace coming to guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. (See Phillippians 4:6-7)
The day after I wrote that letter our daughter, Jennifer, was diagnosed with a very rare cancer. Jennifer is the one who helps proof and type these letters.
It was a memorable and difficult moment to hand her my rough draft of the letter, “Be Anxious for Nothing” so she might read, proof and type it for our ministry friends.
Having just endured the shock of a difficult diagnosis it was wonderful timing on the part of the Lord to place that message in her hands in such a timely fashion.
Jennifer had surgery, the cancer was contained and removed. She has had some lingering post-op issues but we believe they will soon be resolved. She is doing really well; praise God!
A short time after Jennifer’s surgery, my wife became ill. We initially thought it was some kind of flu but her doctors felt it might be a severe reaction to the immunotherapy trial she had begun. To date she has been down for over a month with extreme fatigue, abdominal discomfort and some other unfortunate side effects.
As I write this letter we have calls into some doctors to get guidance in addressing this condition.
While Linda was down in bed and quite weak, her dear sister, Brenda, passed. Linda was too weak to attend the memorial service which, of course, was very hard on her. I officiated Brenda’s memorial and shared from scripture the wonderful hope we have in Christ in the midst of these difficult circumstances. Brenda was a beautiful Christian who loved and served the Lord faithfully, but it was so sad that Linda couldn’t be there.
As the TV info-mercials say, “But wait, there’s more!”
A little over two weeks ago our son, Jeffrey, began having severe anxiety attacks. It’s so unlike him to be anxious or panicked. Yet wave after wave would assault him almost daily, sometimes hourly. He’s doing better, praise God, but it’s been a tough stretch for all of us.
Why do I share all this bad news with you?
It’s kind of like a line from that goofy old song they’d sing on Hee Haw every Saturday night: “If it weren’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all.”
Well this has nothing to do with luck, good or bad. It has nothing to do with some lack of faith or some hidden unresolved sin that is wreaking havoc with the lives of God’s children.
It has to do with God’s sovereign eternal plans and purposes to strengthen our faith through testing, conform us to the image of Christ through suffering and display living testimonies of God’s sufficient grace so that others may be encouraged and strengthened in their trials.
I really hesitated to share all these personal struggles because some of you are enduring things way beyond all I have shared. We know this to be true in our church family and we know it’s true in our family of ministry friends like yourself.
But in the midst of all this and on behalf of all of us I want to testify: God is good! He is faithful! His grace is sufficient!
“In all these things He is working for our good because we love HIm and He has called us unto Himself for His purposes.” Romans 8:28
Dear friends, please pray for us and know that we are praying for you! Say it with me, “God is good!” Say it out loud so your ears can hear what your heart believes.
“God is good!” “The Lord is good to all, And His mercies are over all His works.”Psalm 145:9