Before I knew I would move a thousand miles from four seasons and local coffee shops, before I knew that my faith was going to fall apart on the threshold of spring and questions about tithing, membership, and provision, before all that. This all happened before that. I knew that God wasn't real and if He was real, He wasn't good, and if He was good, He wasn't good to me. What I couldn't wrap my mind around was why I'd been dragged through the whole charade in the first place. Why a decade of spirituality and suffering and questions and confidence? Why all that if He was just going to walk me into the desert, spin me around in circles, and tell me to sort it out from there?
One of the first sermons I heard preached after I moved down here was from a series about authority. In it my pastor, who was still in the middle of 18 months of chemotherapy for a brain cancer that kills most of its victims, said these words, "I believe that He did not cause my cancer, but He could have stopped it, and He chose not to."
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There are all sorts of mental gymnastics in faith, right? In that sentence above you could spend hours and weeks and months trying to sort out what each word means and how it plays itself out. You might decide you cannot serve a God who doesn't cause suffering, but could stop it and chooses not to. But in that one sentence, my mind stopped the questions and just believed.
Because here is the truth about what God promises and what He doesn't:
He promises He is good and He promises His word endures forever.
He promises eternity to His children and He promises justice to us all.
He promises His character is inscrutable and generations will speak of His faithfulness.
And those promises trump. They win. They win because they pile these light momentary afflictions of cancer and unbelief, suffering and fear, and they place them in the hands of a Creator, an Artist, an All Good God, and He blows away the chaff, the things that feel like wasted time and wasted energy and wasted you, and He makes all things new.