God is Still Here
As I type this, I’m sitting in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at
the local hospital. The sounds, unique to this level of care,
include beeps, whooshes, and dings. The walls are thin, so the cries
of a young child in another room and the alarms next door filter
into the space my daughter is in. It is a strange place, the Peds
ICU. Day and night run together. And while the nurses are calm, you
know the only reason you’re in a place like this is because
something is really, really wrong.
We’ve been on an incredible journey, facing things that have been
really, really wrong. Hearing words no parent ever wants to hear.
Words like “tumor.” And “neurosurgeon.” And “oncology.” We don’t
know if our precious daughter will need chemo. Or any other kind of
treatment. But that’s just it. We don’t know. All these words are
scary, overwhelming, shocking.
The thing that has been absolutely incredible through this journey,
and we’re still in the midst of it, is that we’ve seen God’s hand so
clearly. Not leading us where we want to go (no parent ever wants
their child to need brain surgery or to hear their child has a
tumor), but leading us gently, all the same. It doesn’t make sense,
that a good God would take children He loves through dark valleys.
Especially children who are seeking to serve Him. It doesn’t make
sense. At least not in the way we look at things in our culture.
But, what I have learned through many journeys through many dark
valleys is, God never leaves. God’s goodness doesn’t depend on my
circumstances. It depends on His unchanging character.
For some reason, we equate God’s goodness, and God’s provision, with
comfort and ease. At least in developed Western nations. And we
think that if life isn’t good, or comfortable, or smooth, then
something is wrong. Yet, what do we see in Scripture? Even Jesus
suffered. Yes, He suffered for us. But He suffered. In spite of a
heartfelt request that He be spared. David suffered; we can read all
about it in the psalms where he poured his lament out to the Lord.
Abraham suffered. Paul suffered. Peter suffered. John suffered.
Every person listed in Hebrews 11 is listed because of their faith
in the midst of suffering. Perhaps because suffering is so foreign
to us... or perhaps because we’ve tried to mitigate it to such a
degree, we’ve lost sight of the gift that God being with us in
suffering can be.
Truly, the most powerful lessons I’ve learned about God’s character
have been in times of suffering. I didn’t really know who El Roi
until I needed to be seen. I didn’t know really Jehovah Jirah until
I needed His provision. I have never been so desperate for Jehovah
Rapha as I am right now. And unlike Buddhism, or Shintoism, or
Islam, or any other faith practice outside of Christianity, the God
of the Bible doesn’t leave.
Whatever you are facing right now, I guarantee, God hasn’t left you
alone. He is with you, just like He has been with me and my family
through this whole ordeal. And He is good. He is so very, very good.
Not because life feels good; right now, it definitely does not. Even
so, God is still good. He can be trusted, especially when life
doesn’t feel good.
If you are questioning God’s character in the midst of suffering, a
book that I have found to be truly life- changing is When Life and
Beliefs Collide, by Carolyn Custis James. It is because of that
book, and the lessons I learned from it, that I know God is good, in
spite of the horrendous situation we are in.
A powerful principle that has given me strength in this long dark
hallway between where God closes doors and opens windows is “The
Faith Process.” It is, in essence, choosing to live in light of the
truth of God’s Word regardless of circumstances, emotions, or
cultural trends, and asking “How am I going live in light of this
truth?” It is not my idea. Credit goes to Pastor Ron Proctor in
Texas. This particular illustration, however, is all mine. After the
life-shattering conversation with our doctor, seeing the words
“mass” on my daughter’s MRI report, I needed something. God met me
with a rather unusual passage... Psalm 139:15, “My frame was not
hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven
in the depths of the earth.” (ESV). Knowing God knit my daughter
together, and that she was not hidden from Him then, it was a
promise that she was not hidden from Him know, nor was the brain
tumor, even though we were completely taken by surprise.
Another verse that I’ve been holding on to might seem counter
intuitive, but it is a verse I’m choosing live in light of. Psalm
4:8 says, “In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, O
Lord, will keep me safe.” (NLT). Which meant in the waiting room, as
our daughter had brain surgery, I slept. I was exhausted. Hospitals
and critically ill children don’t usually afford mamas much sleep.
But I slept for another reason. I slept because I knew I could rest,
and trust God with my daughter. Not because I knew the outcome. But
because I knew Who controlled the outcome, and it wasn’t me. I
couldn’t do anything during the surgery. So as a conscious act of
faith, I took my pillow and blanket to the waiting room. And I
slept. And when I woke up, the doctor was explaining that surgery
had gone very smoothly. Even if I hadn’t slept the outcome would
have been the same. But my experience during those long hours would
have been very different. And that is the hope I want to share with
you; God is good. He loves you. And He isn’t going to leave. No
matter what. What you really need to decide is, what will you do?
Will you rest? Or will you worry. Not because worrying will change
anything, but because it will determine how you navigate your
God is good. He just is. Not because life feels good, or because
things go smoothly. But because of God’s character. His goodness is
part of the essence of Who He is. I hope that you will learn that
like we have through this journey.
Marchauna has shared almost twenty-four years of (mostly) wedded
bliss with Chris. Together they are the parents of eight precious
children, six girls and two boys. And when not learning the inner
workings of Sacred Heart Children’s Hospital, they invest their time
and energy in helping connect people in Spokane to life-changing
relationships through Cru Spokane. If you want to follow their
daughter’s journey, search “Makayla Rodgers” on CaringBridge.org.
And if you are interested in more information about either When Life
and Beliefs Collide or The Faith Process, please email Marchauna at
email@example.com. Please be aware that it may take some
time for her to respond, depending on what is happening with