Two weeks ago. The Sunday after Thanksgiving. My husband stood in church and declared the goodness of God. Lest you think that was cavalier of him, consider these events in our lives.
In early November our phone service was crippled. Our business runs from calls to our cell phones. One day a village clerk called and indicated that she had been unable to reach us by using her landline to our cell. This was the second day of an error message when she dialed our number from her landline. All the devices on our account were affected. This meant than anyone who would try to reach us from a landline would not get through.
That’s ok, right? Because everyone uses cell phones these days. Well, no. The village clerk, a government office, could not reach us. Hospitals would not be able to call us. Nursing homes would not be able to call us. Many older people in the community would not be able to reach us. If you needed us, your landline would not get you to us.
We called our provider and they said they would have someone look at the issue in 48-72 hours. We spent hours on the phone trying to get them to escalate the issue so that diagnostics and repair could happen sooner. They didn’t seem to understand that this account handles all our business calls and being down would be very costly. It seemed as if we were talking to a brick wall, but finally the wall cracked and they agreed to have an engineer address it the next morning. Thankfully, by midmorning the issue was resolved.
And that’s not all.
The day before Thanksgiving, Bud turned on our computers to be greeted by a ransomware screen. All of our files had been encrypted and the only way to get access to them was to pay a ransom. Like that would ever happen. But as our IT support looked at the problem deeper, it became more catastrophic in that the cryptoware had made its way to other computers on our network and even to our online file storage. This was the amazing part – the virus wiped out the files on the account and emptied the trash as well. It appears that no recovery is possible. This was a company that you all know and our information was not safe there as we thought.
If you’ve never experienced either of these two issues, you will not understand the stress involved in gaining resolution.
But that’s not all. We have an ongoing issue that began in early 2020. I cannot give you details, but I can tell you what I’m learning. The issue has caused a stop in the road, even for me, where I have had to evaluate the teaching of Jesus about relationships. One thing that became clear to me was that Jesus greatly valued His relationships. I would say that He never considered any time spent with people a waste of time.
I am reading a book called “Suffering” by Paul David Tripp. In that book he makes a valid point that when we suffer, we are able to see more clearly what is truly important. Juxtapose this concept to the life of Jesus when he was about to be crucified. (John 17) Jesus prays first for his relationship to the Father. And then he prays for the disciples. He doesn’t pray that they would win many souls, that they would plant lots of churches. He prays for their relationships.
Say that again. In his dying day, Jesus prayed for the relationships that the disciples had with each other. Can it be highlighted any more clearly? While the work of the church is important, the heart of Jesus focused first on the relationships of the believers.
But that’s not all. Those of you who follow us, have already arrived at the next trial. That Sunday before Thanksgiving was the Sunday before Bud’s check up at Sloan-Kettering. He is now on a four-month cycle for these appointments, so that has alleviated some stress. However, whenever a trip to NYC looms, it is a battle for the mind to refrain from the what-if’s and to focus on the day-to-day gift of living.
And yet, Bud boldly declared the goodness of God. He was able and willing to say that no matter what trial enters your life at any particular time that God is good. I say “Amen.”
There is a song by Jason Ingram that resonates deeply with me and it is called, no surprise, “The Goodness of God.” I declare to you that God is good and God is faithful. He wants a relationship with each one of us and He loves fully and completely. A child of God is a treasure to Him. He is always good, even when the circumstances are not. He is always faithful, even when we’re tempted to believe He let us down.
Occasionally, we jokingly let our worship leader know what song we want played at our funeral. Some of those that we’ve chosen in the past have fallen off our list. This song is the definitive song. Please listen to it. If you don’t have this kind of relationship with Jesus, just understand that you can.
Bud didn’t know what the result of this check up would be when he stood in church and declared that God is good. The results might be wonderful or they might be devastating. But that wasn’t the point of the declaration.
This appointment revealed that “all is good, nothing to be concerned about, no active cancer.” The news seems somewhat anti-climatic after you ponder the faithfulness of God. And we are once again, thankful for the work that God is doing.