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God is good . . . but we’re not exempt.

This thought has been running through my mind all week. Our interim pastor taught on Psalm 73 this past Sunday. The psalm tells the story of Asaph; a psalm writer, worship leader, and lover of God. In Psalm 73, Asaph revealed a faith crisis he experienced.

He was a man of deep faith, navigating a season of difficulty, and simultaneously, he observed people who didn’t possess any love for God who from his perspective, had no problems. Asaph’s crisis can be boiled down to one question: “God, why am I going through this incredibly difficult time while those who don’t love you are living the good life?”

Has some version of that thought ever crossed your mind, or some version of those words ever crossed your lips? If not, you probably haven’t been walking with Jesus very long. Every Christian I know has moments of doubt; seasons where things don’t seem to add up.

In light of the above, I keep coming back to this thought: God is good . . . but we’re not exempt. We’re not exempt from the trials and tribulations inherent in a fallen world. Not exempt from the stresses and strains of being human. Not exempt from confusion when we suffer loss.

Just recently, our church family lost another person to the clutches of COVID. A young man, the father of young children who need their daddy. Our church prayed diligently for his recovery. Probably hundreds of Jesus-followers were praying he would be restored to health. And yet, it didn’t turn out as we hoped.

God is good . . . but we’re not exempt.

How do we weather those seasons when life doesn’t make sense? When we can’t get our arms around loss, disappointment, or uncertainty? When our dreams get shattered? Asaph teaches us a couple of things:

1. He didn’t wrestle with his faith in front of everybody

He wrote in Psalm 73: “If I had said, ‘I will speak thus,’ I would have betrayed Your children.” Asaph was wise enough not to share his faith struggle with everyone . . . not until he had successfully worked his way through it. I’ve had enough of notable Christian leaders deconstructing their faith in the public forum. In front of thousands of people on social media. Keep your faith struggle between you, God, and a few close brothers/sisters in Christ. Telling the whole world you don’t believe anymore is irresponsible. Jesus warns us that anyone who leads His children astray will be held accountable. Don’t fly solo when you’re struggling, but be wise about who you bring on the journey with you.

2. He gathered with fellow believers to worship

Again in Psalm 73 Asaph wrote: “When I tried to understand all this, it was oppressive to me, until I entered the sanctuary of God. Then I understood…” When life doesn’t make sense, sometimes the last thing we want to do is hang out with other believers. Can I suggest that when life is confusing, we need the strength the corporate gathering provides more than ever? We may just find fresh and accurate perspective in that setting.

God is good . . . but we’re not exempt.

If we’re serious about deepening our faith, we have to get more comfortable with ambiguity. When I was a baby Christian, everything made sense. I had life figured out. As I’ve walked with Jesus for more than four decades, I’ve discovered faith often requires me to make peace with ambiguity. Things happen (and don’t happen) that I can’t explain. That distresses me. And yet, I have enough history with God to know that He is good, and He can be trusted.

So, if you find yourself in the middle of a season where doubt, confusion, and pain are ruling the day, please don’t lose heart. Be honest with God about how you feel. When it looks like people who reject God are the living the good life, remind yourself that everybody has pain in their life . . . and most of the time, you’re not aware of it. Invite close, trusted friends into your struggle. Friends whose faith won’t be damaged by your own faith crisis. And tell yourself this over and over: “God is good . . . but I’m not exempt. Life is hard . . . but God is good.”

Rooting and praying for you,

John

John Opalewski

Author John Opalewski

John Opalewski is a graduate of Oral Roberts University. He served as a pastor for fifteen years. He has worked in the business world for nearly two decades, serving in multiple leadership roles. John's experience as a leader in both the church and business arenas has made him a sought-after international speaker, coach and mentor.

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