“And all my life You have been faithful. All my life You have been so, so good. With every breath that I am able. Oh, I will sing of the goodness of God”
I accidentally broke my dad’s ribs once.
No, really. When I was around ten years old, my dad was lying on the hardwood floor in the living room and asked me to walk on his back to pop it. I remember I was really uneasy about hurting him at first and gingerly stepped up and down his spine. As he continually reassured me that I wasn’t hurting him and that he was fine, my confidence grew. Each step I took was heavier, and finally I was taking firm steps every time. After a period of time, when his back felt better, he told me I could stop.
That wasn’t so bad!
I prepared to step off onto the hardwood floor, but spontaneously decided to be artful with it instead. Smiling, I bent my legs, and pushed off into a full, graceful, ballerina-like leap from my dad’s back.
To my horror, I heard my dad inhale sharply as his ribs cracked from the pressure against the hardwood floor, and I quickly turned just in time to see his face twist in pain. Other than my mom rushing over to him, I don’t really remember what happened next. I only remember that I began to sob loudly because of what I had caused and quickly fled to my bedroom to hide.
My poor father had broken ribs because of me. But because he knew how upset I was, once he regained his breath, he pulled himself up and hobbled down the hallway to my bedroom — just to let me know that he was okay. When he got to the door, he knocked and pushed it open, only to find me lying on my bed, looking through a magazine and singing softly to myself.
Just to recap, I broke my dad’s ribs and caused him all this pain, then he came to comfort me for breaking his ribs, and I was looking at a magazine and singing. I’m sure from his point of view, I had zero remorse about what I had just done.
However, as a child, I often used singing as a coping mechanism, and I can remember many times that I would sing songs that I had heard from church to myself when I was scared, or anxious, or even to put myself to sleep. At that moment, I had ran to my room, threw myself on my bed to cry, and at some point, somehow transitioned to singing — which calmed me down before he found me.
Thankfully, this is a story we can both laugh at now, and I’m happy to say that I didn’t walk on his back anymore after that. However, my attachment to singing and worship music is still the same. It’s honestly one of my favorite ways to spend time with God.
However, I can’t say that I’ve always felt that way.
I can remember one Sunday, standing in church, while the song “King of my Heart” was being led by one of the worship leaders. I had received some bad news that week, and my world felt as if it had been flipped upside down. I went through the motions of a typical Sunday, but inside I felt hollow. They began the chorus that says “You are good”, and I felt numb. My lips formed the words, but no sound came out. Not only was it hard to sing about the goodness of God with conviction, it was hard to sing it at all. But why? I typically loved this song! Weeks before, I had added it onto my Spotify playlists. Sometimes, I would hum it to myself during the day, and I of course always enjoyed hearing it at church. This time, however, it felt different.
Why? Because that Sunday, my life wasn’t good, so it didn’t feel like God was good.
Isn’t it funny how that works? When life is good, God is undoubtedly good. But when life is hard, and our hearts are hurting, we begin to question that goodness. After all, how could a good God allow us to walk through seasons of grief, pain, fear or even just experience overall trouble in our lives? And better yet, why does He often seem silent during those times? Just like that Sunday, when my life felt shattered, I’ve found myself questioning God’s plan for me during the dark seasons. Sure, it’s easy to trust God in the light, but when life feels like you’re wandering through a pitch black escape room, blindfolded and alone, His promises begin to feel a little less certain and tangible.
So, what do we do at times like this? How do we respond when we’re handed divorce, a miscarriage, a cancer diagnosis, a pink slip, a breakup, a devastating death in the family, or whatever else life throws at us? And isn’t that exactly how life goes? At the end of the day, even when life is going perfectly, that could always change at any moment.
When we’re hurting, and we don’t feel like we’re seeing God come through the way that we think He should, that’s when we have to trust His heart. In the book of Psalms, David writes, “You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle” (Psalm 56:8 ESV). What a thought! This paints a beautiful picture of how every tear of ours has meaning to God. He remembers our tears as if he kept each individual one in a bottle! This tells us that the Creator of the universe cares deeply about our sufferings, and even promises to wipe those tears away for good once we get to Heaven. (Revelation 21:4).
While trusting God’s heart during trials, it’s important to trust His plan for us as well. Since high school, my life verse has been “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11 NLT). Eugene Peterson beautifully paraphrases this verse in The Message by writing, “I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.” I feel like this verse is misquoted often, but I think the biggest takeaway should be the intentionality of our Heavenly Father.
As you could imagine, in any relationship, intentionality is everything! For women especially, there are few things that rank higher in importance — it’s a big deal. I love how God knows exactly what our hearts desire and need, and makes it a point to be that for us. We serve a God who is intentional with every single thing He does. He knows what He is doing, and there’s so much peace in just that alone when we don’t understand why we’re going through trials. It might not make sense right now, and it may even be uncomfortable, but we can rest in the knowledge that it’s all part of the plan.
Knowing what God’s promises to us are can also prove to be a game changer-both in our heart and mind. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to cling to His promises when life has left me broken and without hope. When I say “cling”, I mean I’ve had to hold on to them with both hands, knuckles white, and clutching them tightly to my chest. I’ve written them on my bathroom mirror, repeated them to myself as I lay down to sleep, repeated them again when I opened my eyes the next morning, typed them out and set them as the lock screen on my iPhone, and did everything else I could think of — just to remind myself that I serve a God that is faithful and who never leaves me.
Isaiah 43:2-3 (NIV) says, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.”
Notice that it says “when”, not “if”. While He doesn’t promise that we won’t go through hard things, He does promise that He’ll be there to walk us through it! We’re never left alone in the midst of it. That means so much to me! There’s so many beautiful promises like this in God’s word, just waiting for us whenever we need them. His word is living and breathing, and so personal — if we allow it to be. Finding a promise to hold on to during the storm changes everything.
Our God cares so much about every single thing we go through, and is also so intentional about what He allows us to come up against. He doesn’t forget about us even for a moment. It’s not always going to be easy, and we’re not always going to understand, or feel like worshipping in the midst of it. But, He’s always been so faithful, and He’s proven time and time again to be worthy of my trust. So, with every breath I’m given, regardless of my circumstances, I can say (and sing) with full confidence:
He is faithful!
He is constant!
He is good.
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