• Rebekah Barbera

God is Good, Even When Life Isn't

Updated: Dec 10, 2018

I love the seasons of life when everything just works out. The times where God orchestrates relationships, jobs, and opportunities to work out in ways I could never have made happen on my own. It’s in these seasons that I can’t help but think, “Man, life is good!” as I walk around singing “Everything is Awesome” from The Lego Movie.

But seriously, what do we do when life is good? We talk about it. We post about it and hashtag it with the classic #lifeisgood or #lovelife. We savour it, celebrate it, and go about our lives thankfully and joyfully. Why? Because life is good!

But what do we do when life isn’t good? What do we do…

when that relationship falls apart?

when we feel directionless?

when sickness strikes?

when we tire of holding on to hope because the dreams and promises we’re clinging to feel so impossibly far away?

What do we do then?

These are the questions I’ve asked myself over and over again in what has been a very challenging season. As I’ve pressed in for answers, I have slowly begun to find them. Perhaps more importantly though, my main questions have shifted. Instead of just asking “What do I do now?” I started asking,

“God, what are You doing in the midst of all this?”

As my questions changed, my view of my current season changed, too. I began to pay attention to and recognize the lessons that God has been trying to teach me. Here are the lessons that I’ve learned – or that I’m still learning, anyway – about difficult seasons.

1. God is good, even when life isn’t.

I don’t understand why some areas in my life feel like an uphill battle. I don’t know how or when my breakthrough will come. In fact, there’s a whole lot I don’t know. What I do know, though, is that in the midst of everything, God is good and He never changes. He is exactly who He says He is, regardless of my current circumstances.

He’s still Healer, even when I have yet to experience healing.

He’s still Provider, even when I have yet to receive provision.

He’s still the One who guides my life, even when I have yet to receive direction.

It’s so easy to let circumstances colour how we see God. But the truth is, our current realities do not define who God is – His Word does. No matter how far removed it might seem from our situations, His Word is true and it never changes (1 Peter 1:24-25).

So instead of letting disappointment and what feels like delayed answers dictate who God is to me, I choose to believe that He is who He says He is. I choose to believe that He’ll do what He says He’ll do. And I go back to every verse I can find, every journaled word whispered to me, that reminds me of who God is. I stand on those words and in them, I find my hope again.

2. God reveals Himself in the struggle.

Psalm 34:18 (NIV) says that “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” In the Good News Translation, it says that “The LORD is near to those who are discouraged; he saves those who have lost all hope.” This psalm isn’t just some platitude we throw out to people who are in rough seasons. It’s truth.

It has been in my lowest times, when I’ve felt crushed, hopeless and alone in my struggles, that God has seemed incredibly close. I know God promises that He’s always with us. Yet somehow, I think there’s a special kind of intimacy that can only be experienced when we walk through life’s lowest points with Him. It’s not that He’s closer to me in rough times, but rather He reveals facets of Himself that I didn’t see or need in easy ones.

Comforter. Encourager. Hope-filler. Way-maker. The list goes on. All of these names, these facets of Him, take on a whole new meaning when we experience them in times when we need Him most.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t believe things like pain or sickness come from God; He’s a good Father. However, I do believe that He can use everything in my life, even the messy parts, to reveal Himself to me.

3. My view is completely up to me.

In difficult seasons, it’s easy to focus on the problems with which we’re confronted. When something is broken it’s natural to want to figure it out and fix it. However, it’s also easy to become so absorbed in our current circumstances that we lose sight of what, and who, is important.

During a recent worship session at church, I was struck by a simple question. I was desperately trying to focus on the words I was singing when I felt God ask,

Where are your eyes?”

I was so consumed with finding solutions to my problems that I couldn’t focus on much else. Even worshipping was an effort. And as I considered His question, I realized my focus was off. All I could see was the mountain in front of me – not the God who has called me to see it moved.

I’m not saying that we should ignore the problems we find ourselves facing. That would be foolish. What I’ve learned, though, is that while I may not get to choose my situation, I always get to choose my view of it. And as cliché as it may sound, if my view isn't great I can change it by looking up.

As David said in Psalm 121:1-2 (NIV), “I lift up my eyes to the mountains – where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.” Somehow, the simple act of directing my attention to the God who made everything puts everything else in my life into proper perspective. The mountain in front of me suddenly becomes much less daunting in the light of an all-powerful God.

So what season of life do you find yourself in? If it’s in a difficult one, take heart because you are not alone in your struggle. God is cheering you on! He is so much greater than anything we could possibly face. He has the comfort, the solutions, and the answers you’re waiting for. Not only that, you’ll find that He’s incredibly good in the waiting.

Take heart and look up, my friend.

He’s still good.

And He’s still got you.

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Photos by Christopher Vega