Stories of Grace: A God Who’s Always Good
Editor’s Note: This article is a part of our annual Rooted Student Series, where high school, college, and graduate students share their voices, wisdom, and experiences in learning to be disciples of Jesus. This entire week (and a few more times though the month of August), we will share articles from students to encourage parents, youth pastors, and fellow students in their own walks with Christ.
“How long, O Lord, will I call for help, And You will not hear? I cry out to You, ‘Violence!’ Yet You do not save. Why do You make me see iniquity, And cause me to look on wickedness? Yes, destruction and violence are before me; Strife exists and contention arises” (Habakkuk 1:2-3).
The cry of Habakkuk captures how many of us feel in this season. COVID-19. Social and political unrest. Economic distress. It’s almost becoming too much. Not only does life seem to be on pause, but it seems to be unraveling.
How long? How long must we pray for healing? How long must we wait for revival? How long must we watch for redemption?
I’ve prayed this so many times. I’ve begged for the end, and I’ve asked the Lord to take us back to ‘normalcy.’ I’ve been hopeful and expectant, only to grow doubtful and discouraged.
And it’s so easy to fall into that. It’s so easy to give ourselves over to an attitude of doubt, anger, and disappointment. Nothing happening in our world encourages us to believe that God is working. Nothing in the news seems to point us to His goodness.
Sometimes I get so blinded by what I see that I forget about what God sees.
This fall, I’ll be finishing my last year of undergrad at the University of Alabama. I was so excited to spend senior year with my friends, to recruit one last pledge class together, to attend our last football games, and to live in our sorority house.
I had so many hopes, all of which seem to be falling apart, and it hurts to think of what would have been. It’s hard to accept the things we’ve lost and even harder to anticipate the changes to come. It’s dealing with the disappointment of right now and the worry of the future. It’s trying to let go, yet still holding on to the little we know.
Oftentimes we stop there—at the hurt and the loss—but that’s not the end of the story. It wasn’t for the prophet Habakkuk, and it’s not for you and me. The Lord responded to him and said, “‘Look among the nations! Observe! Be astonished! Wonder! Because I am doing something in your days—You would not believe if you were told’” (Habakkuk 1:5).
Lean into that statement. It’s as if God is saying ‘Hey, wake up. Look at the world and watch in wonder. I’m doing something. Can’t you see? I’m working in the waiting, I’m with you in the wilderness, and I’m weaving together a story of redemption you will hardly believe.’
In the pain, He accomplishes purpose.
In Habakkuk’s story, evil overtook the nation. He wondered where God was and why He seemed silent. How long will the disaster continue?
When God answered Habakkuk, He told him He was doing something. He told the prophet to watch as He worked it all out, but Habakkuk probably didn’t expect God to use something so hard and painful to accomplish His purpose. It didn’t look the way Habakkuk thought it should, and it definitely wasn’t going to be easy. God was going to use a foreign invasion from the enemy to execute justice in Judah.
In that, we see how God uses disappointment as His appointment. Where there’s a storm, there’s a stage set for a miracle. Could that be what He’s doing in our world today? On a grand scale, could He be using the hard, the hurtful, and the painful to accomplish something so much greater?
The Goodness of God
“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” (Romans 8:28).
God knows what He’s doing, and He’s making a way (Isaiah 43:19). He always has, and He always will. Through the birth, death, and resurrection of His precious Son Jesus, we have life unimaginable (John 3:16). We have the victory (1 Corinthians 15:57)!
No matter the chaos around us, we can cling to the Grand Story of victory He’s accomplishing in our world, and we can trust the individual stories of victory He’s accomplishing in each of our lives. “For I know the plans I have for you…” He declares in Jeremiah 29. Notice, there’s not just one plan but many. Plans for a hope and a future.
We have to believe that. We have to trust that if we knew all that He knows, we wouldn’t change a thing about this season. If only we would press in enough to see it. If only we would believe Him enough to hope for it, to watch for it excitingly and expectantly.
I’ve really wrestled with this. I’ve had to continually check my heart and remind myself that it’s not about me or what I want. It’s about shifting my perspective and fully trusting Him in the midst of it.
If I really believe that He is working through this for good and that He is good, then that should alter the words I speak and the way I think. Am I speaking to the life that I know God is bringing in this season, or am I speaking to the loss I’ve experienced? Am I praying and hoping for revival in our nation, or am I worrying about what’s to come?
Instead, everything always for His glory.
“But as for me, I will watch expectantly for the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation. My God will hear me.” (Micah 7:7)
So often, we ask God, ‘show us the way.’ We come with our questions and plead, ‘this is a mistake.’ But it’s in that place where He makes Himself known, He shatters our expectations, and He does abundantly more than the unimaginable (Ephesians 3:20).
Because when we’re unsure of everything else, we become certain of Him. We may not know where He wants us to go, how we will get there, or why the answer is sometimes ‘no,’ but in time all that seems wrong will be proven as right.
And we know that in the end, “‘He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away’” (Revelation 21:4).
“And He who sits on the throne said, ‘Behold, I am making all things new.’ And He said, ‘Write, for these words are faithful and true’” (Revelation 21: 4-5).
Follow Rooted’s annual student series on the blog this week and throughout the month of August, and check out all our student series articles from over the years here.