(Sometimes I look at old posts I’ve written from around the same time of the year. This one was encouraging to read, and connected with where we are globally. I pray all is well with you as we finish the week after Easter – and continue Eastertide through the next many weeks!)
Easter week is over. The dust is beginning to settle on a roller coaster of a month. There are still large unknowns about what God has in store, but we are incredibly hopeful about how we can not only be used for His Kingdom, but be blessed in the process. This week in my “Spiritual Formation” class, we focused primarily on the spiritual discipline of “Celebration”. We read the chapter from Richard Foster in his “Celebration of Discipline“. I wrote a short response, which included this paragraph:
“How much more powerful is a testimony of someone who clings to and proclaims the goodness of God, in the midst of great struggle – than that of someone who praises the goodness of God, having just escaped the clutches of suffering? It doesn’t take divine empowerment to have joy in the midst of visible blessing. However, it does often require the Holy Spirit to Love someone who has (or continues to) offended you. Foster says the Joy and Celebration he speaks of come after the other disciplines and a life of obedience he’s been writing about in this book all along. ”
Looking back on what I wrote, I could see someone reading it, and missing the important focus. It is easy to hear culture these days, and be influenced to want blessing and comfort so that we can proclaim “Look, God is good!!” It’s easy to hear my words above, echoing those of Richard Foster and many other great Christian leaders, and want to seek suffering along with a broken world so that we can proclaim by God’s strength, “Look, God is good!!”
The emphasis, however, should not be on the conditions we’re experiencing. Which is kinda the point. We are called to proclaim the goodness of God, simply because God IS Good! God is not “good” like anything we’ve ever called “good” before, and yet God is the substantial essence of which all other “good” is merely an echo.
So yes – my brothers and sisters who are enjoying the blessings of a comfortable life this week – I join with you in proclaiming “Look, God is good!!” To my brothers and sisters suffering and oppressed, I join with you in proclaiming “Look, God is good!!” To those of us stuck somewhere in between, our voices come together as we proclaim “Look, God is good!!”
Not because we are naive. Not because we don’t see the immense suffering and brokenness in our world today. But because we know that God is with us within it, and working to bring redemption even now. Not only this, but because He has invited us to join Him in bringing freedom to those who are bound, forgiveness, grace, Love, light, Hope, and by this to bring others to faith that New Creation is coming – and has already been launched. Not as a “someday” future hope that we can escape all of this. But as a “right now” hope that it is precisely “this” (whatever “this” is for you) that God is interested in bringing redemption and healing through. Our celebrations. Our hurt. Our confusion. Our joys.
I pray you’re able to declare “God is good.” this week. May He reveal His goodness to you, and through you…