This I know.

I’ve been hung up on the reality of God’s goodness for quite some time now. Which, if you read my last post, you already know. I’m going to repeat myself a little. I’ve been all hung up because I just can’t grasp it, and that has been terrifying, frustrating, and humbling. In the past few weeks of still struggling through this theme, as I’ve asked God to teach me what His goodness looks like, I’ve realized that the whole process has laid the perfect foundation to learn about a whole other side to it; one that evokes an even clearer image of the ever-compassionate face that Jesus shines on me daily. He has introduced me to a part of His goodness that I can’t believe hasn’t hit me before the way it is now. Maybe I just never believed it until now. Maybe I never understood it at all and now it’s starting to feel more real because my freaking life is taking on a fuller shape these days and because I’m realizing how God perfectly times and orchestrates the events of our lives and truly does fulfill the desires of our hearts– even above and beyond what we ever could want for ourselves- and how He calls us to things and works through our obedience and especially through our weaknesses. (Wow, out of breath. Also, more on all of that later. Sorry for that run-on, but words just came out and they’re staying that way.)

So I reached an understanding (or rather an acceptance of the fact) that I’ll never fully be able to grasp God’s goodness this side of heaven, as I’ve already mentioned. And this, I believe, is one of the reasons why He’s so good… because He surpasses my own comprehension. If I could fully understand His goodness, it wouldn’t be that good.  So I’ve been okay with this. I know I’m not limitless. Yes, God, you are good. I get it. I accept it. I’ll spend the rest of my life reminding myself of this truth, even and especially in the inevitable dark moments. K, next? <<— That was me thinking this was the end of the lesson that I’ve implored Him about and wrestled with for months. (I am literally the most impatient person on earth in every way.) But just when I thought we had wrapped up this whole “God’s goodness” topic, He said He wasn’t finished yet; that this is just the beginning, and that as true as the statement “He is good” is on its own, there’s a crucial part of it missing that I didn’t have eyes to see until He reminded me of the part of Him that is incredibly personal. He reminded me of the fact that we have an actual relationship, and that He wants me, loves me, and works on my behalf, not just in the big picture of things. I think that is just part of what makes God so insanely big – that He can orchestrate, control, and be sovereign over literally everything and everyone at the same time, yet He knows me personally and cares about my heart: my hopes, dreams, desires, strengths, weaknesses, insecurities, and He does not ignore them, but lovingly addresses each one in His timing. He is personal. He is good. And once upon a time I thought there should be a period right there, but He gave me two more words that don’t just add to but perfectly complete my simple three-word statement. What I once thought was a well-rounded-enough sentence about God, I soon came to realize was only the first part of one He wanted to finish…

He is good…  to me.

I’ve prayed, God, teach me that You are good. Teach me what that means. And I can’t describe what I expected to find the answer in… but for some reason I didn’t expect it to come in the form of anything personal, like a gentle realization of how good my God is to me – always has been and always will be.

The other day He took me back to Jerusalem, 2014, to a memory that I have of a very pivotal moment from that summer and in my life. I was sitting at the Western Wall praying, asking Him what He wanted for me and from me, and trying my best to listen. And He spoke clearly the words, “As much as I am the God of this city and this country and this whole world, I want to be the God of your heart.” I feel like everything I’ve learned since then has just been an add on of what He told me that day about His purpose for me. (He is SO faithful to complete the work He starts in us.) So this past week He brought me back to that and He added this part, saying, yes, I am teaching you and have taught you that I am good. But I want you to understand another aspect of my goodness. I am not just good, Ana. I am good to you. Always.

God is good because He is literally goodness itself, in its fullest form.

He is nothing but good.

Goodness originates from Him.

The very nature of God is good.

His heart is good toward you.

His heart is good toward me.

How many more ways can I say it?

And if this is all as true as every fiber of my being believes it is, then that means that everything, e v e r y t h i n g  He does is good, no matter how our little eyes perceive our circumstances; no matter how little or much we understand about why things happen when they do and the way they do. Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” He works all things together for our ultimate good – to make us more beautiful, to transform us further into the image of His Son – and all of that for His ultimate glory. There is always a greater purpose. And for this reason, there is nothing to fear. I don’t know that I’ve ever been able to rest so confidently in something in my life. I don’t know that Romans 8:28 has never resonated so deeply before because for real, I’ve honestly probably read or heard that verse upwards of about a thousand times in my life.

So I don’t know, guys. I don’t know a lot of things. It’s hard following Jesus. I want what I want and a lot of times I don’t want things the way He wants things, even though I know that He sees and knows better; that His ways are higher than mine; that His thoughts are not my thoughts. This life is just constant practice to have and maintain a posture where my hands are open and in front of me, ready to receive what God gives, or to release what He takes away. But there’s rest to be found in the fact that whatever He chooses to do or allow, it’s because He is good and He is working for my good, for your good – to conform us into the image of His Son so that our lives can fulfill their purpose: to bring Him the glory He deserves. Whatever is happening is somehow making us more beautiful.

This I know.

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