It’s 6:30 AM and I’m sitting on my front porch as I write this post. There is a storm brewing. I can feel it from the stronger than normal breeze. I can hear what sounds like freeway noise, but I know it’s not. I can smell it in the air. We need a storm. The ground needs water to drink up and we could all use a break from this incessant heat. And here I am complaining about the heat and it’s not yet July! For anyone who’s ever been through an Atlanta summer, you know what I’m talking about. The heat is coming, and it’s gonna be bad.
During this past week, I’ve thought a lot about that heat. Somehow, it makes everything seem more intense, more heavy. And of course that got me thinking about analogies that involve fire. You know the ones, your feet being pressed to the fire, the burning bush that is not consumed of its fire, heck I’m even thinking about the Colorado wildfires that have been raging for over three weeks. This is an excerpt from a morning article in the LA Times about the wildfires
Colorado is on fire. The state is roiling under the devilish orange-glow threat of at least six massive blazes that have forced thousands to evacuate. Fire officials said there was little chance of containment of the state’s largest and most destructive High Park fire any time soon.
Little chance of containment any time soon.
What is it about fires and storms?
They’re scary and devastating, and I wouldn’t wish a destructive storm or a wildfire on my worst enemy. And yet, somehow, they are never all bad. Storms that wreak havoc and destroy bring opportunities to rebuild and often galvanize fractured groups to work toward common goals. Wildfires are commonly allowed to burn to clear out years of dead wood and vegetation, again allowing life to regain entry into fallow ground.
But you know what? When you’re in the midst of a storm or a fire, all you want is to get the heck out!
People have told Kevin and me a lot that we are so brave. I have always found that odd. I think of bravery as running into the fire, perhaps to rescue someone helpless and noble. We didn’t run into this storm, it rages around us. Trust me, there is NO WAY I would have run face forward into this storm if I knew what was coming.
But I suppose we actually did.
See, when we chose to put our faith in Jesus, He didn’t promise us a way out of the storm. He didn’t promise us that fires would not blaze around us and scare the dickens out of us all the while.
No, He promises something so much more beautiful, and, frankly, life giving. He promises us that the fires may burn, but they will not consume us, that the storms will rage, but we will not be broken. He promises us that for as long as we live in a world of sin and brokenness, we will know sorrow. He promise that! Doesn’t that suck?
But I think, regardless of where you put your faith, we can all agree that this world really is filled with brokenness and sorrow. There is absolutely beauty and joy to be seen everywhere we look, but there is grief and there is pain as well. It is simply a part of the human experience. And that, I think, is what I am working through right now.
We will fight this cancer as hard as we can. When Kevin is weak, I try my hardest to be strong, and I will drag him across the finish line of whatever the next treatment is, because I am NOT giving up. We will pray without ceasing that God chooses to keep him around here for a little while longer. But we also know that that may not be the way things work out. Kevin is not scared of dying. He knows that he serves a good and gracious God and that he will be spending eternity with him, through the grace brought upon by our savior. But we are both still scared of what life would look like without him. What it would be for me, for our kids, for the friends and family and co-workers who know and love him. We are so far from certain how this whole act will play out. It’s high drama, folks, and I can’t tell you what will be the next twist or turn.
But I can say this. Kevin can say this as well. This is the only thing we can say with complete and absolute certainty. God is good.
God. is. good.
No matter what, our God is good. He loves us, He cares for us, He desires goodness in our lives. And yet, the great mystery is that things pretty much suck right now. I don’t know why. I don’t know why us, why Kevin, why the cancer came back so quickly. And quite frankly, why is a pointless question. It may be different for other folks, and I don’t want to step on that, but for us, there’s just no use wondering. We’ll never have an answer, not in this world at least. So we cling to the one thing that does give us answers.
God is good.
All the time.
In our past. In our present. In our future. In our fires and in our storms.
God is good.
Our unchanging Father who loves us more than life itself (He did, after all, give His up for us), He is good. That’s it. He is good. There is nothing more to cling to, no huge analysis of this idea, simply that we are trusting in God’s goodness. That’s all we have, and it’s enough.