Tom Gilson

I’m sitting on the recliner in the corner of our living room, typing with my Mac on my lap. It’s one of my more familiar places to be.

There are crutches right next to the recliner I’m sitting in. That’s becoming all too familiar. I had surgery to repair a torn tendon in my left foot just six months ago. Now I’m told there’s another partial tear in the same foot. I have an appointment scheduled with a surgeon, who will probably tell me I need another repair done. Until then I can’t put any weight on that foot.

It won’t be the same doctor who did the first surgery–not because I’ve lost any confidence in him, but because we’re in the middle of moving from Virginia to Ohio. Which brings up what’s terribly unfamiliar about where I’m sitting. The whole house here is packed up in boxes, ready for the movers to come take it away on Tuesday. About the only thing that’s normal about it is that most of the furniture is in roughly its usual position.

My 20 year-old son, Jonathan, and I are here to finish getting things ready for the move. He’s got a great attitude, which makes all the difference, considering he has to do most of the physical work. I’m very thankful for him.

So here I sit reflecting on the fact that I can’t walk (again), and I have to go through the pain and the life disruption of surgery (again). We’ll be moving into a new home in Ohio later this week, and if I’m any help with the process it will be because I have a wheelchair available to zip around in. We’ll be far from our usual network of friends.

It’s rough. It’s disappointing. It’s frustrating. It’s physically painful. Even so, I’m sure that many people reading this are going through struggles and heartaches more challenging than mine today.

For me, and perhaps for men generally, there’s a temptation to hide from the pain by throwing myself into my work. This morning I decided to look it square in the eye; and it’s brought forth tears. I’m not very good at writing about it.

The Psalmists cried out, “How long, O Lord?” (Psalm 13:1-2, 89:46; also Psalm 35:17, 74:10, 80:4, 90:13, 94:3, 119:84). There is pain there, but there is hope and confidence as well. The question is not if God will come and rescue, but when.

The people of God have asked that question ever since. I am asking it today.

How then can we have confidence, even while life seems torn in two? Is there anything more to it than wishful thinking run wild? I think there is. There’s a basis of knowledge supporting our confidence and our hope. That knowledge is based in what we might (almost irreverently) call God’s track record. He comes through. He came through for us most significantly when he came to defeat death.

We know, too, that God takes a long view, and as Paul said, our “momentary light afflictions” (which for him were anything but that, from a human perspective) are as nothing compared to the glory to come. And we know that God’s purpose in our lives is far deeper and much better than simply securing our comfort. He is fashioning us into the likeness of his character. Character doesn’t come easy.

I must go, but I will say this before I do. This is how the problem of evil and suffering feels from the perspective of a Christian suffering: it is not the path I would have chosen to walk (or to hobble on), but it is the path God chose, and God is still good. He is very good. He is good in the future work I know he will do, and he is good today. This too is something I am not skilled in writing, but my heart delights in his goodness today.

There was a better writer than me who said “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!” I agree deeply and joyfully. Maybe I should have just posted Psalm 34 here for you to read in its entirety. God is still good.

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12 thoughts on “God Is Still Good

  1. That’s why I keep telling people that I am so looking forward to my resurrection body 🙂 In the meantime, I trust Him and ‘wait upon the Lord’ to renew my strength and keep going. (Isaiah 40:29-31)

  2. Thanks for your post. A friend who follows you sent this one on to me since I too am learning a few things about injuries & recovery. In April of 2011 my wife & I had a near fatal motorcycle accident (for me it was near fatal) and now 16 months later I’m still under going repair with surgery #8 coming up in Sept. I know what walking on one leg is like & having my wife & 22 year old daughter do stuff for me. I have been blogging however – on the theme “hoping for the best & dancing with the rest”. My address is May you too learn to dance with your season of recovery!

  3. A very touching post. I’m going through something very painful — it’s not getting any easier either. I trust God to bring about “good” for I deeply love and trust Him.

  4. Yes, He is still a good God.

    If God is good, to whom is he good? When is he good? How is he good? But all the same God is good.

    Looking from the Bible we see that many men who trusted God ended up in trouble. But God delivered them. We do not need to have ZERO problems in order to know that God is good. We just need to trust and believe Him. As we do so we will start to see things through his eyes and hear Him. It will become clear that our current terrible situations ‘could have been worse.’ And we will notice that other people are being encouraged by our faith amidst the storm.

    Remember that Jesus, the son of God was innocently murdered. And He also warned us that in the world we will have trouble (John 16:33). But he promised us peace.

    God is good, even if He does not save us from our situations (Daniel 3:16-18).

  5. Let’s just say that it’s important to look beyond the white, middle-class, suburbian existence in a first-world country and recognize that He is God over everything, including the starving children in Africa, the victims of sexual slavery, AIDS… even the death of 99% of all species that have ever lived.

    We must keep things in perspective is all… and every time I hear someone say how good God is, I can’t help but wonder if they’re remembering that Bigger Picture and whether they’ve asked themselves how the starving children in Africa fit into their little worldview.

  6. Oh, for Pete’s sake, Sault, re-read what I wrote, please. It was a personal reflection in the midst of pain and disappointment, not a philosophical discourse on animal suffering or the general problem of evil. Give a guy a break, okay? If you want to look up the problem of evil on this site, here are some links for you.

  7. You are in my prayers as you move to Ohio. I hope the new surgeon will be able to fix the problem and you will not have the need for further surgeries. Sometimes it is good to have a rest knowing that God still cares for you and you still love Him. Get will quick!

  8. Through the light of belief, man rises to the highest of the high and acquires a value worthy of Paradise. And through the darkness of unbelief, he descends to the lowest of the low and falls to a position fit for Hell. For belief connects man to the All-Glorious Maker; it is a relation. Thus, man acquires value by virtue of the Divine art and inscriptions of the dominical Names which become apparent in him through belief. Unbelief severs the relation, and due to that severance the dominical art is concealed. His value then is only in respect to the matter of his physical being. And since this matter has only a transitory, passing, temporary animal life, its value is virtually nothing.

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