I was raised to believe that blessings and healing and victory belong to those who believe. Which is a wonderful thought. But the flipside of that belief is that failure, sickness, and lack are signs of not believing enough. So while I was taught to instinctively respond to "God is good" with "All the time", it was understood that God's goodness is only reflected in the goodness of our own lives.
It's not in the pain or the difficulty or the challenges. For those, clearly, are signs of a wayward heart... a faltering faith... an unexposed sin.
Basically anything but blessing, success, and victory boiled down to me not being enough.
Not praying enough. Not believing enough. Not claiming the victory enough. Not speaking words of faith enough.
It was drilled into me that difficult and painful circumstances were never God's will for me. And if I found myself in the midst of them, then obviously I needed to change/fix/do something to get back in right-standing with God, so that things would turn around.
I think back now and I wonder how I processed all the stories I read in the Bible.
You know, stories like Stephen being killed because of his faith. And Joseph's decades of wrongful imprisonment. There's also Paul's beatings, jail sentences, and never-abating thorn in the flesh. John the Baptist, Jesus' own cousin, had his head chopped off. And let's not even talk about Job...
I don't know what I did with those stories that clearly flew in the face of the you-will-always-walk-in-blessings-if-you-have-enough-faith breed of Christianity I embraced.
Because the truth of the matter is this: There are a good many things in life that I simply can't believe my way out of.
The rain falls on the just and the unjust. Bad things happen to God-fearing people. Life isn't fair. And life is harder than anyone ever tells you it's gonna be.
A faith that only acknowledges the goodness of God when things are going great, isn't faith at all. It's nothing but a sandcastle mirage...
Faith is believing that God is good even when my life is anything but.
Faith is believing that God is good even when my world is caving in.
Even when the sickness isn't healed... When the pain gets worse instead of better... When my husband leaves me... When I lose everything...
Faith is looking at my world that's spiraling out of control and choosing to believe that the God of the universe is still in control.
God is good. And God is sovereign. And faith is believing both those truths at the same time.
Life is hard. This we all know.
But, still... God is sovereign, and God is good.
All the time.
No matter what.