When is God good?

Is God good when I get what I want? Is He still good when I don’t get what I want?

At first glance, I want to say  “All the time”. But wait, is that true for me? Do I actually live my life like God is good, or do I stomp my feet and cry like a petulant child when I don’t get my way? This is a question that takes some soul-searching.

In this season of my life I just can’t seem to get over the very logical fact that I do not have the same life path as others. I have plans for myself that very obviously are not the same God has in mind for me. I know this because if they were, they would have happened already.

I’m struggling to accept it and work on myself and keep up the faith in the mean time, but my selfish childish voice inside can’t understand it. My being is absolutely divided-I want but cannot have.

Habakkuk 2:1-3

2 I will stand at my watch
and station myself on the ramparts;
I will look to see what he will say to me,
and what answer I am to give to this complaint.[a]

The Lord’s Answer

Then the Lord replied:

“Write down the revelation
and make it plain on tablets
so that a herald[b] may run with it.
For the revelation awaits an appointed time;
it speaks of the end
and will not prove false.
Though it linger, wait for it;
it[c] will certainly come
and will not delay.

I sought the Lord, and He answered me

Ever have one of those moments when emotions build up out of nowhere? I was having a fine morning, 3/4 done with another brilliant post (or so I thought) when I realized that somehow I had saved a blank page.

No big deal right?

All of a sudden, out of nowhere, I was like a pressurized water heater ready to explode. It wasn’t just the lost piece of writing I was so proud of – everything came to the forefront. Fears, disappointments, bitterness, rage. I imagined that if I was sailing in the middle of a tempest, I’d be clinging to a loose rope, being violently thrown by the wind. I prayed and pleaded with God to fight this evil for me.

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Contend, O Lord, with those who contend with me;
fight against those who fight against me ~Psalm 35:1

When I’m in distress like this, I pray in a desperate and pitiful way, simply asking Jesus to “come here” as if he was just down the hall. Exactly when he came and took care of me, I’m not sure. All I could see was the terrifying storm and pain in my heart. It wasn’t until I realized I had caught my breath and my heart was beat regularly that He had given me his peace and led me to calm waters.

All I know is what He allows me to experience, but I am by no means an expert on emotional distress. So I will offer this: If anyone out there today is feeling fragile or broken, there’s nothing better you can do than call out to Him for help. Hope in Jesus is the safe anchor for our souls (Hebrews 6:16). Instead of fixing your eyes on the problem, fix your eyes on Him.

I will be glad and rejoice in your love,
for you saw my affliction
and knew the anguish of my soul.
You have not given me into the hands of the enemy
but have set my feet in a spacious place. ~Psalm 31:7-8

Step away from the ledge, my friend

After being inspired by Ann Voskamp I am inspired to jump in and get my hands dirty — writing stories for all my sisters that will encourage and set your hearts aflame for Jesus. Our Word God doesn’t let any Words from him go to waste.

This is a true story.

I’m sure there are plenty of more demeaning lines of work, but call center agents definitely have to be up there on the list of “Most Hated People of All Time.” Yes, I am one of them. I will soon be celebrating my 3-year anniversary in tech support by gently advising old people they have called the wrong number and that they actually want Citibank.

What’s it like, answering phones for a living? Well, at first it was terrifying, then anxiety-ridden, then anger turned to seething rage, which settled into self-righteous indignation. If you have ever wondered (or never wondered) what goes on on the other side of the line when you call a support line, please let me fill you in:

1. You can’t see me, but I’m a person. A real person with feelings and a lunch break to look forward to.

2. I don’t care to hear how you’re glad I’m American; it makes you sound racist.

3.  I’m here to help you. I have a better understanding of the software than you do because I was trained. Trust me and I’ll solve your problem!

4. Do you need to vent? I understand, just don’t vent all over my dignity as a human being. There is a right way to bring attention to a concern. Word vomit never got anyone anywhere.

5. Hanging up on someone who tells you bad news is plain childish. Are you a child?

6. Snide remarks and insults are tolerated on a daily basis. Have some humanity.

(Boy that felt good to get out in the open!) Now for the good news: More than any other job I’ve had in my short 26 years, this has been a 40-hr a week lesson in humility and patience. By now you’d think I’d have it in droves, but I do not. I can say however, that I’m better than I was, only because of God’s protective barrier around me.

I’ll admit I don’t usually run to bible verses when a caller drives me to shaking. Ever hear the term “I saw red”? It’s really like that sometimes. My heart races, my fingers shake, my face gets hot, and I can’t think straight. How can a stupid comment from a person I’ve never met and will never speak to again, drive me to such levels of rage? It angers me even more for how it affects me!

I could fill many, many books with all the threats, exhortations to go to hell, or the (ultimate insult) “can I speak with someone else who knows more?” routine, but I won’t. Never has human ugliness had such an easy medium, with the Internet and telephones. The more impersonal the contact, the less problem someone has about bridling their tongue.

Now, even I have lost my temper once or twice on the phone (that was before my call center days) and I’m not really an angry person for the most part. Trust me, I get it. Technology is frustrating. Lost passwords are infinitely irritating. But I know also that it’s not really about the lost password. It’s your job, finances, marriage, other pressures. You’re not in control and that angers you, and someone’s gotta burn, right?

My blessing and challenge is to do my job with integrity. I must be patient and kind, keep no record of wrongs… But doesn’t it make it way more difficult when they are not people you know? I run to Jesus for help in these times. In the moment during or after a bad call, I swivel my chair around to look at the wall, shut my eyes tight, and pray just one word, because opening my Bible right now is not going to bring comfort. I shut it all out and just say “Jesus.” That’s it.

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. ~Romans 8:26

I take the black bile spilling forth from my brokenness, and pour it out at the cross and He washes it away. He gives me rest from my bitterness and anger, and swivels my chair around to take another call.