Waiting on God and Acknowledging His Goodness in Tough Times

“God is good all the time!” We’ve all heard this said numerous times - and it’s true!!! Easy to say when life is going well - but how about when your mom has cancer for the third time and this time around the diagnosis is terminal? Is he good when your severe chronic pain returns after a three-year absence and there’s no clear path forward that doesn’t include incredible suffering? Or when an unexpected medical issue turns your entire life upside down, right when you thought you were finally getting on top of things?

The last six weeks have been a wild, wild ride - as the pain has slowly increased I’ve found myself completely undone at times - all worry and no peace. Could this be God’s mercies, reminding me just how much I need him in every way possible? I’ll tell you one thing - I’ve run to the Lord more readily than at any other point in my life. (I think the staff at Third Church all know me by name now with all the times I’ve come to the church asking for prayer!)

It’s kind of a shame and embarrassment that the times of bountiful blessing don’t also send us running to the Lord with the same fervor! It’s so easy to let our circumstances cause amnesia when it comes to God’s goodness - I need to be reminded over and over and over again. Just last night I was close to tears as I pleaded with my seven-year-old daughter to trust my wife as she tried to put an earring back in her left ear. She just couldn’t do it - the fear had such a grip on her mind. I look at how I handle chronic pain at times and feel as though I'm looking in a mirror…

Randy Alcorn wrote an amazing blog entry titled “Waiting on God and Acknowledging His Goodness in Tough Times.” His wife Nancy has been on an 18-month journey through colon cancer - a journey that recently took a turn for the worse. How do we respond when news like this comes? Alcorn writes:

When we get good news, it rightly prompts us to say things like “God is good.” But when we get bad news, or are thrown into uncertainty (with high stakes and low control), GOD IS STILL GOOD all the time. He is good when the cancer is gone, but He is also good when the cancer comes back.

Randy then shares an incredible letter his wife wrote to a pastor who was also going through cancer. I found these words to be so encouraging:

I have experienced His sovereignty, mercy, and steadfast love in tangible ways as I have been in this deep cave. He let me tell Him my fears and confess my lack of peace at what was happening and what might happen.

I now trust Him at a level I never knew I could. And He understands that I don’t need to be happy with everything, but that I can depend on the fact that everything that comes into my life He intends for my good.

Ok - so I’m not the only one who struggles with fear and finds peace lacking at times! There are so many ways to grow when we’re in “God’s waiting room.” Nancy’s closing words in the letter were this:

The “supernatural and divine” may not turn out to be what we thought we wanted, but I am convinced that it will be what we will embrace in God’s grace!

Randy then finishes his blog by sharing a bunch of Scripture, which I thought was a great idea! Here are the verses:

But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:31)

I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living! Wait for the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord! (Psalm 27:13-14)

The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. (Lamentations 3:25)

Therefore, the Lord waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed [happy] are all those who wait for him. (Isaiah 30:18)