‘Appreciation’ Meditations No.22: More on God’s Goodness
Jas 1:17 “And the Lord said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the Lord, in your presence.”
We continue to ponder on the ‘goodness of God’. We perhaps lose sight of it when bad things happen, but in the midst of them, He’s still there, having said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you,” (Heb 13:5) and, even more, His grace is available to us in it to help us cope and even rise up and be above the worries and concerns as we realise His ever watchful eye on us – “he who watches over you will not slumber” (Psa 121:3) and His strength is there to be appropriated, taken hold of. If the path is sometimes difficult (Mk 14:36), the end will be glorious (Heb 12:2).
Just recently I had a strange experience. Cutting down on a very long story, I ended up in our local hospital A&E (ER to Americans) with chronic lower abdomen pain. No, this wasn’t a mere stomach ache! With my wife beside me we went through the first two stages of triage and was told I needed to be assessed by a surgeon on the surgery ward. For a variety of very good reasons, having checked in at 9.45am, I eventually checked out (and the pain had completely disappeared, and yes we had both prayed during the day) and was discharged at 11.45pm! So I sat for five hours in excruciating pain until pain killers kicked in, and then for a further seven hours waiting to see a surgeon (they had three major emergencies pour in that day on top of their usual load). Next morning I sat quietly before the Lord, and asked, “Lord, what was all that about? At the end of the day neither we nor the surgeon had any idea what it was and we just sat there for an entire day, when I could have been doing something useful?” Silence and then, “Grace. What actually happened?”
I reflected on the day and realized something amazing: during the pain and then in the hours following both my wife and I found ourselves at complete peace and even from time to time smiled or laughed at what was not happening! It was a day of pain and shear boring nuisance – but not a stress in any way! I suddenly realised the grace of God had been there for us, we were bathed in throughout the day. So let’s emphasise the point of this particular study. We so often only think about the ‘goodness of God’ as all the good that comes into our lives in a variety of ways, but perhaps, as we did the other day, miss the fact that the grace of God was there in the midst of crisis whether that was the extremes of pain or boredom. Somehow in those times (and we don’t realise it until afterwards) there is this enabling that brings with it peace etc., provision IN the midst of the problem, the crisis, the hurt, the pain. Amazing!