Enter Into Joy

Monday, September 13, 2010

Is God good?

We yearn for life to be simple.
We wish that there were quintessential American values; we love to romanticize the past, we need to believe in “good ol days”, the belief that there was a time when people had it all figured out.
We need to believe in an ideal – some beauty that will make our lives become perfect, some longed for thing that is just around the corner.
We like to believe that by our hard work and ingenuity, we can create some paradise on this earth.
We strive so hard to pretend we have control over our lives.
Yet we never have as much control as we would like to believe.
We are constantly reminded of how fleeting this life is.
Sometimes the reminders are far away – an earthquake, a tsunami.
Power acts of nature that reminds us of how small and fragile our flesh is.
Sometimes they are close – the rape of a friend, the murder of a brother.  In an instant our entire life is changed.
One day we thought we knew who we were, the next day we are left completely confused – dealing with emotions and feelings we have never faced before.
Sometimes the reminders are in our very own hearts and souls. We become depressed. We lose hope. We are anguished. We are suicidal.
Sometimes all we can do is scream – Naked I came into this world from my mother’s womb and naked I shall return.
We cry and no one can console us.
And this is our life.
This is the environment in which we must find joy.
It makes me cry to simply write about it.
However even after painting such a stark picture of the reality of life – I still come back to two questions.
Is God good?
And will you praise him?
The sun is shining outside right now. My bare feet on top of each other are warm. I am able to type and move my fingers. There are people on this planet that care deeply about me. The earth continues its silent path through the universe. The sun still feels a little hotter coming through the car window.  Truly goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.
Is God good?
You created the universe, hold up the heavens and the earth, preside over thousands of years of blips who call themselves men, make plants grow and rain fall, every good and pleasurable thing in this world comes from you.
Yes – God is good.
But will you praise him?
When all is lacking control – when you are lost – when the world is cruel – will you say even though I would rather take a knife and kill myself – you are the King of Kings, Lord of Lords, I praise your for who you are, for what you have done, and for what you are going to do. 
How hard it becomes to praise our God in times of trouble. When we are suffering how difficult it becomes to let out a hallelujah.
Yet, when we are broken is when our praise is most sincere.
The only way to find joy in this world is to be able to give praise when we feel out of control.
Even if the very world should stop, we must remember that we were always just visitors on this planet, always just specks of dust whose sole purpose is to praise him while we can.
Forever. And ever.
– Darryl Ratcliff


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