You know what’s really hard sometimes? Trying to find the good in the seemingly not good.

I want to let you in on a little secret about it. 

And as usual explain the secret with a story.

Around the sweet little kiddos at the Collie house, there are lots of dear friends in different circles. The church friends and the homeschool group friends, the new neighborhood friends and the old neighborhood friends… you get the idea.

Now among these friends, there are some in particular that my kiddos visit from time to time. And when they return from playing with those friends at their house, sometimes something just seems off.

The last time, my eldest came home feeling frustrated, but he was unspecific about his frustrations. Arguments started arising surrounding allowances and chores and items on his wish list that he would like to save up his own money to buy, but that his Mom and Dad have made the executive decision he cannotbuy even if he has three times the money he needs to buy them.

Sometimes I try to sit down with the one kid having trouble, and just start gently, slowly asking questions and listening. And sometimes I think when you sit down with someone and try to ask thoughtful questions and really really listen? You can hear things they don’t even realize they’re saying. The message beneath the words, right?

And this time what I really heard beneath the talk about wanting to be able to spend the money on this or that, wanting to do chores and make more money, wanting me to create opportunities for this to happen… what I heard underneath all that was:

I want something, and I think it’s good. You don’t want me to have it, so you are not good.

Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?”

 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’ ”

Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. 

{Read the Whole Story in Genesis 3}

Do you see a bit of a theme developing here?

Maybe that sounds like oversimplification but look at a different story and see if you see this theme here: 

Why does the woman eat the fruit? This is the moment. This is the first “not good.”

God created and saw that it was good. God created something else and saw that it was good. 

If we believe God is good, we believe He creates good things and He gives good gifts.

In the life of the believer, we can, we should, we must take this a step further and cling to a belief like this:

For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
The Lord will give grace and glory;
No good thing will He withhold
From those who walk uprightly. {Psalm 84:11}

I think many of our “not goods” come from believing that God is withholding good things from us. Like Eve in the garden, and like my kid coming home from a friend’s house, we want to say:

I want something, and I think it’s good. You don’t want me to have it, so you are not good.

It is pretty darn hard to be happy when we don’t get what we want, right?

But what do we do about it when we don’t get what we want?

Celebrate car accidents and broken bones? Throw parties when someone dies unexpectedly?

Absolutely not.

But here’s that secret I promised you. If you can choose to believe God is always good, then when something not good comes along, you can take a deep breath and whisper a prayer like:

This seems not good. But God, you are good. And somehow, you can make even this good.

When we choose to trust, and we choose to still believe — even when it’s hard, even when it hurts… especially when it hurts — when we choose to trust, we can find hope to keep us going and anchor our souls. 

When we choose to trust in the goodness of God, and to focus on Him, just like Isaiah 26:3 says…He keeps us in perfect peace. We find a peace we never expected in the midst of the hard and the scary and the hurt, because we believe God can and will work things together for our good. And He does not withhold good things.

After sitting on the couch for a while with that sweet child of mine, hearing his heart and getting down into a sense of the real ‘not good,’ I had the opportunity to tell him two things that I wanted him to hear:

1. Your Dad and I love you so much. We are deeply invested in wanting to choose what is best for you. We are careful about what we allow you to have and see and do because we want to keep you safe and we want to do what’s best for you.

2. Please trust us. Even when it seems unfair and you’re not getting your way, I want to ask you to believe that we love you enough to sometimes say yes and sometimes say no. We want what truly is good for you.

I wonder if the Lord would sit us down on the couch to say the same thing? To the thing you’re waiting for, the diagnosis you’re facing, the no you got when you prayed so hard for a yes? Would He say:

1. I love you so much.

2. Please trust Me.

And at the other end of the sofa, when you look back at the Lord who loves you, what will you say in response?

Next time, try whispering this one simple thing:

This seems not good. But God, you are good. And somehow, you can make even this good.



I hope you’re encouraged, friend! I write With Love, From Here every Wednesday. Take a moment to subscribe here and you’ll never miss a post!

If you’re walking through some very ‘not good’ I highly recommend Timothy Keller’s book, Walking With God Through Pain and Suffering.


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