What happens when we perceive that God does not do His part? When we do have to bury a child. When we do have to go into ICU. When we do have to struggle with unemployment or addiction. ~ Max
My tears have been my food day and night while people say to me all day long, “Where is your God?” — Psalm 42:3
Welcome to week four of the You’ll Get Through This Online Bible Study with Max Lucado. This week we’ll practice saying, “God is good” when… life gets really rough.
When I was a little kid, I was afraid of the ocean. Not of standing on the shore running back and forth with the whitewash. Not of the sight, smell, or chill of the water. I was afraid of the waves. My dad would snatch me up and take me out into the water so I felt safe ducking under the big waves as he held me in the ocean’s sway. Even though I was terrified, I knew he wouldn’t let me go. I might come up sputtering and gasping for a big breath but he wouldn’t let stay under too long. He had me. And after we’d endured the washing machine long enough, we’d eventually crawl out exhausted, salty, and happy, and ready for a PB&J sandwich… and I felt a little more brave.
I expected that kind of safety with God. But, He didn’t offer it. How about you?
Has God crossed the line in the sand with you?
Maybe it was your job, or your savings that went up in smoke. Maybe you could no longer pay your rent or mortgage. Maybe your loved one got sick. Your dream business shut down. Your wedding was put off or cancelled. Maybe your marriage has been put to the test during this season and it failed. Maybe the thing you’ve been banking on just died right in front of your face. And there was nothing you could do about it. God could have stepped in, but He didn’t. And you can’t possibly understand why He wouldn’t answer all those prayers and what you thought were promises…
At some point after a series of upending crisis after crisis, I started giving God the side-eye. Because I thought that if I devoted my life to Him that He would preserve and protect what I treasured and wanted. Surely, He wouldn’t let it all go up in smoke. But He did.
It’s only fair, right? I’ll do my part and God will do His part. ~ Max
I have control issues. I didn’t know that until I got the snot kicked out of me emotionally, mentally, maritally, financially, psychologically, and spiritually. It got hot with God and me, and fast.
You’ve been there, right? If we can be honest, I’ve had moments of doubt…
God is good.
But, is He?
Or maybe God is good, He just isn’t good to me.
What do you do when you hit a faith crisis? When all of the sudden something happens and you look at God with fresh eyes, heartbroken, stunned, and all at once wary of Him and the nature of His character.
Recently, I had to ask myself those questions again. I remember thinking that maybe I’ve known a safe, elementary version of God in the past but since all hell continues to break loose, He’s very different that I thought He was.
These are the big waves. Waves of struggle, suffering, heartbreak, confusion.
Is God good? Yes.
But, this hasn’t been a bump in the road. Nor a detour that would lead back to the main highway after some enjoyable distance. This season has been a fork leading an entirely new direction. Unexpected. Uncharted. Seemingly unending.
Is God good?
This question has been one of the most important in my life.
My answer is yes. Whether or not He does what I expect. Whether or not life goes the way I wish it would. Whether or not I would do things differently and I don’t understand His plan.
These present sufferings are in His capable hands.
Joseph understands that God is sovereign. God is overseeing both the seven good years and the seven tough years. ~ Max
Joseph is the one with confidence!.. Every time Joseph opens his mouth to Pharaoh, he mentions God. ~ Max
He sees what we cannot see. Knows what we cannot know. Has a bigger plan than we can imagine. He is God in the rain and in the sunshine. Through the dark night of the soul and in our peaceful sleep. In want and in plenty. In crushing defeat that sends us spinning out and in joyous victory that causes whoop-whooping and laughter.
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. — James 1:17
As Hebrews 13:8 says,
Jesus doesn’t change — yesterday, today, and tomorrow — He’s always totally Himself. (MSG)
God is good. He can’t be anything else.
Whether our circumstances jangle and rattle us or not, He is good. In famine, flood, or fire, God is good. Through betrayal, bankruptcy, or abandonment, He is good.
Are you in the big waves, friend? Come up for a big breath, and remember, God is good.
This week in your study:
- Watch the video for session four on our study home page. Take notes in your study guide on pages 59-63 and then stick around for the conversation with our OBS community!
- Go through the study questions with your group or on your own on pages 64-68.
- Read chapters 7-8 in the You’ll Get Through This
- Grab your Bible and enjoy your personal study this week on pages 69-71.
- Join the conversations about the study and in our private Facebook group.
Scriptures this Week
1 John 4:8
Prayer for the Week
Jesus, we love You. You are good. You are good. You are good. Thank You for Joseph’s example of referring to You and trusting in You even in his unreal circumstances. Help us to see You and believe in You no matter what happens. Help us to know Your goodness and Your sovereignty and to lean on it! We love You, Lord. Amen.