At the start of the year, my picture perfect life turned for the worst. My whole life I had been untouchable. Nothing bad happened to me or to anyone I loved.
But all of a sudden, I felt like God was bullying me. Friendships were dissolving, my family was having issues, schoolwork was overwhelming, social obligations were exhausting, my health was weakening. My world was crumbling.
Like any toddler would, I threw a tantrum. I balled up my fists, I bursted into tears.
“Why God?” “Don’t You know what You are letting happen?” “Don’t You see me gasping for air?” I asked, begged, and groveled night after night. Surely He made a mistake. Surely He did not mean to send blow after blow, storm after storm.
Well God knew why. And now I know why, too.
Somewhere along the way, my religious pride overtook my spiritual passion. I knew the books of the Bible, I could flip to any verse within seconds. I was book-smart too, I made Dean’s List my first two semesters of college. I was popular, not all over campus, but I always had weekend plans.
God loved me, my professors loved me, my friends loved me, I loved me. In retrospect, I sound like a prideful brat. Maybe because I was one.
I don’t think God is a mean kid with a magnifying glass burning poor ants, but I know God allows storms in our lives to happen for our good.
While I did not see the good at the time, I know God’s goodness full and well now. Because each time I got down on my knees, I begged for His hand in my life. I desired His peace. I sought His joy. I remembered Him.
I applied my Sunday School knowledge to my complacent life.
I knew what it meant to trust in His sovereignty, to experience the counterpart to God giving: God taking away.
I felt the Holy Spirit working inside of me, melting away all bitterness and tasting the sweet joy directly from God.
I deserted my empty worded songs and prayers, exchanged them for heartfelt praises and petitions.
And in time, with much prayer, my clenched fists relaxed, and the tears ceased. Smiles returned. Laughter spread. And life got better. Granted, there are still storms. And there will be more to come.
But man, I know God is good.
Because at a time when I was more angry at God than ever before, God was there. And when I was just one storm from walking away, God was there. And when I felt like no one would understand, not my family or friends, not my professors or ministers, God was there. And He understood.
For the first time, I did not have it all together. In fact, I dare say I had none of it together. My pride was defeated, yet my humility was restored. Because God gives and takes away.
And it is during the times we are stripped of our comfort in friends, grades, family, fun, prosperity, success, that our faith is tested. We are forced to come face to face with God.
We can either walk away, shoulders slumped, brows furrowed, feeling sad and confused, or angry and bitter. Or, we can sprint toward our loving Father, hop right into His arms, and ask Him to cradle us, reassuring us, restoring us, and reminding us of the brighter, clearer days ahead.
Because when we are weak, God is strong. When we are doubting, God is understanding. When we are quivering, God is standing firm.
Friends, if you are in the middle of a storm, trust God is good. Friends, if you are getting out of a storm, know God is good. And friends, if you are currently storm-less, thank Him for being good, and remember He is good when, given time, life is not.
Because at any time, no matter the circumstances, God is good. Forever and always.
“The Lord gave me what I had, and the Lord has taken it away. Praise the name of the Lord!” Job 1:21, NLT