You reveal the path of life to me;
in Your presence is abundant joy;
in Your right hand are eternal pleasures.
When I first came to Hainichen in the spring, I realized I was far from praising God in the way David did in times of deep distress. Instead, I literally found myself pounding my fists on the floor in anger that God was “doing this to me,” sending me to an unknown place in east Germany, as if I was His slave and had no choice in the matter but to obey His “cruel” will toward me. This was all subconscious thinking – at the time I did not think that I viewed God this way.
I realized during this transition that I actually did harbor a lot of mistrust toward Him. I didn’t really believe in His goodness.
I had to seriously deal with these deep heart issues over the past few months. He started “challenging” me to come to believe in His absolute goodness in all things, no matter the circumstance. And the more and more I sought truth (with the pure desire to understand God’s perspective), the more I found healing in my relationship with Him.
Happy is a man who finds wisdom and who acquires understanding.
There were many steps in my healing process, but one of the highlights was reading C.S. Lewis’ The Problem of Pain. In this book, Lewis offered the best explanation I have ever heard on reconciling the truth about God’s perfect goodness with the fact that evil and inhumanity exist in this world.
I also watched a short video that explained why God doesn’t heal all people. I found so much peace watching this because it confirmed my deep down belief that it was my lack of truly knowing God’s goodness and character that quenched His healing power through my prayers.
The prayer of faith will save the sick person, and the Lord will restore him to health; if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.
And as the revelations of God’s goodness came, I began repenting of lies that I held on to about God that I didn’t even know were there until someone pointed them out to me. I honestly confessed to Him my bitterness and mistrust toward Him.
This confession and repentance led to God’s deep ministry in my heart. Over the recent months He has been lavishing me with His grace and love by giving me understanding of who He is. He has really built me up in faith to believe that He truly does make good out of all situations and redeem the worst of things if set my will on trusting Him:
We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose.
This verse, if you think about it, is a challenge to profess actual faith in when things go terrible.
But I have come to know more and more that whenever I set my heart to find His goodness, to find understanding, even in hard times, or even in just annoying every-day times, He reveals His goodness. He gives me His perspective and teaches me and speaks loving words in my heart so that I’m comforted.
I’m not going to explain how He does this, how I hear His voice, because it’s so personal and I believe that God really does speak to us in different ways that each child of God must discover on their own. And I believe that this journey in learning to hear His voice and hearing it more and more clearly is the one of the most important journey anyone can ever go on.
So the point is that my faith is being built up more and more to believe that the Lord is good and therefore doesn’t want to hurt me. This truly does set free me to go quickly into prayer and find Him when I need His love, no longer thinking that He just wants to correct me, come down on me, to tell me to do more, to do less, etc. Not that He is always going to tell me what I may selfishly want to
hear, but I assume less often that He’s going to criticize me.
Of course I believed in the goodness and love of God for some areas of my life, otherwise I would not have obeyed His call to join YWAM.
But there were other parts of my heart that held onto bitterness and disappointment that God has healed me off. He didn’t just want part of my trust or part of my heart, He wants it all, so that I can experience the fullness of all that He has for me in life.
Everything that God wants to speak to me, and every situation that comes my way, He wants to impart life and understanding into that situation, to bring me closer to Him, and help me overcome.
I believe this is the kind of faith that God wants from us – the belief that God is good in all ways, that He is trustworthy and wants to give us understanding, speak personally, and be in constant relationship with us. This is the kind of faith David had, who praised and believed in God, (though at times the praise was small in comparison to his expressed anguish) in times of despair.
And God will use even the smallest ounce of faith we have profess in Him to help us in our time of need, and help us renew our mind toward Him. He just needs us to stop focusing on fear for just a second, and honestly declare our faith in Him.
It’s a daily challenge to invite God’s goodness into our situations. I feel resistance from the enemy who deceives me into thinking that any other thing but God is what I need. I get distracted and then miss out on what God has for me.
This is when it is good to recognize the enemy’s work, and to resist Satan by rebuking him in my thoughts and sometimes out loud, so that I can experience God in relationship with Him in whatever daily challenge I face:
Therefore, submit to God. But resist the Devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.
So basically, since being in Germany, God has been healing my perception of Him and bringing me closer into perfect vision, so that I can see things how He sees it, and so I can see the way He sees me.
Sometimes it is hard to really receive His goodness because at times I don’t think I’m worthy of it, or that sooner or later, it will run out. But in this, too, is a lie, and He has taken me to deeper levels of healing in my identity and the way I view myself.
There are certainly still challenging times in my life. Not everything is rainbows and butterflies and frolicking happily through lush flowery meadows with a big basket of freshly baked biscuits in my hands (something like the below picture comes to mind). I’m often challenged, and things can be hard and painful.
I can still harbor ugly thoughts about myself and others. I still act out in rebellion to God’s will. At times I avoid going to God for prayer out of unbelief.
But what has changed is that I believing more and more of God’s goodness and ability to bring comfort and understanding into all negative situations. He truly does answer all of those who seek Him for answers:
Taste and see that the Lord is good.
How happy is the man who takes refuge in Him!
You who are His holy ones, fear Yahweh,
for those who fear Him lack nothing.
Young lions lack food and go hungry,
but those who seek the Lord
will not lack any good thing.
Even though I was mad at God for “sending” me to Hainichen (only now do I realize how deep in false-thinking this previous attitude was rooted in), I have fallen in love with the place and the community. And the fresh and beautiful scenes of nature around the town totally reflect the growth He is producing within me this year. Although this place is small and quiet, it’s the perfect place for me right now. God knew I needed a place like this with minimal distraction where I could grow closer to Him while at the same time live out and grow in my calling as “salt” and “light” of the world. He truly is a Good Father!