Good and Loved: A Lament for the Knowledge of Good and Evil
My first proclamation of knowledge of God was in a car while driving alongside a ridge when I was about three years old. I said, “Wow, what a beautiful world God made!” Now I am 21 and am grappling with what is not beautiful in God’s world while still trying to love God for Who He says He is and what He says He will do.
I feel led to share this personal lament with you, in hopes that I am not alone in the midst of it.
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Lord, I am weary. I am confused. I am angry. I am feeling a LOT of loss. I am getting to the point where I don’t feel anything. And I don’t know when it will end.
In the book of James, it says that I am supposed to count it all joy when I come across trials of various kinds because it produces endurance, and this endurance is supposed to have its final result in our maturity, feeling complete, as if we lack nothing.
This world is so broken. There are so many times that I have been thinking lately, if I were You, I would never have let these things be happening. How can a just God allow so much pain, so much death, so much loss, so much injustice, so much unrest, etc. to happen to the world and the people that You love and You created?
I have believed that suffering is an intrusion on my personal plans, goals, feelings, etc. instead of realizing that it just might be an instrument that brings me closer to You, that makes me more like Jesus.
Lord, for the past year and a half, like Job, so many times I long to ask “Where are You” and “Why do You allow these things to happen to me and the people that I love?”
There have been times that I have yelled at You and times when I simply refused to commune with You. I have asked “why” so many times that I have lost count. Just like Job, every time I have questioned, You have knelt down to answer me, even though You have no obligation to do so.
You have not told me why You allow these things to happen or why You allow people around me to suffer so, but You lead me back to Yourself every time.
You lead me back to the fact that my comfort in words, knowledge, or possessions cannot compare to the comfort of Your outstretched arms. My refuge is not in understanding, but in Your peace that passes all understanding. My refuge is in the person and work of Your Son Jesus Christ and in Your presence.
Christine Caine talks about how we have to learn to place what we know about You above what we don’t know about the future or what we might not understand about people. I have found rest in what is true. Your truth.
I know that You are good, I know that You are love. I know that You are faithful. And I know that You have my best interest in mind. This is what You lead me back to, and I will praise You for it.
I may not even understand these truths or what they look like practically. What is happening around me may not be a reflection of my understanding of these truths, but that does not make them any less true. I don’t think I will ever comprehend the fullness that is found in You, but it is a beautiful thing to find rest and peace in.
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To ask the questions of where is God and why He allows the things of this world to take place is a legitimate response to the chaos around us, but our refuge is not in words or arguments but in the person of Jesus Christ and the presence of God Himself.
I wonder if the joy that we are supposed to count when we face trials is the opportunity to grow even closer to the Lord, the opportunity to lean on Him and lean into His presence, the opportunity to persevere in suffering even when we don’t know the answers, and most importantly, the opportunity to become like Christ and live in God’s presence because sometimes it’s all we can muster the strength to do.
C.S. Lewis says that “Holy places are dark places. It is in life and strength, not knowledge and words, that we get in them. Holy wisdom is not clear and thin like water, but thick and dark like blood.”
A song that I heard for the first time recently is called “Good and Loved” by Travis Greene and Steffany Gretzinger. A couple lines are as follows, and I will leave you with this hope.
“Through your story is My fingerprint. In the valley there is confidence. In the shadow, I will be your strength. One thing’s for sure, I am your Lord. Through the chaos, I will be your joy. When you’re finished, I have so much more. In the waiting, I’m an open door. Stand still and know, I am your Lord. There’ll be times when you’re up. And times when you’re down. I’m never too far. Just look around, and you’ll find Me. I’m by your side, arms open wide. What was and is, is covered. By the One who was and is. You’re covered by love. I am Good, you are loved.”
You are loved by a God who is good. Rest in that on this side of Heaven.
Katie White is a senior Religion and Philosophy major from Rome, GA and Chattanooga, TN. She is a WinShape scholar and is involved in Campus Outreach. Katie is a sports connoisseur and loves spending time outside with friends and being active. She loves to travel, and otters are her spirit animal. After Berry, Katie plans to pursue work in high school or college ministry.