by Chris Henderson
Some time ago, as I was experiencing a worship service, the song began: “Good, Good Father.” I sang along and realized that I sang freely and easily. I reflected on the goodness of God, His grace and forgiveness. The pastor’s comments reflected on an A.W. Tozer quote:
“What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.”
It dawned on me that it had been over six years; that was the last time I could remember singing those words freely, without some conflicting thoughts. I was reminded of an interaction a couple of years earlier with Juli as we were driving to a downtown restaurant.
“Please don’t play that song, 'Good, Good Father,'” whispered my wife.
I changed the song, but the words bit into me a little more than intended. Not because I found them offensive, or angry; the hurt reflected was deep and profound. It was more that the words were unintentionally accusatory.
Did she know more than I did? Had she loved him more than I had? How could I listen to this song at this time, after all that had happened? Was I that clueless?
I knew Juli loved God passionately and completely. Yet I understood the depth of her pain was something that I could not assuage; only God could truly comfort her. She was wrestling with overwhelming conflicting emotions that were too great to voice. There I was, unable to help—useless. I wanted to help, to fully understand; but I was wrestling with my own confusion and emotions. I held her hand; what else could I do?
Some who are reading this may have trouble grasping that someone who would call themselves a Christian could reject a song entitled, “Good, Good Father.” Others of you know far too well the anguish involved after great loss and the contradictory emotions that overwhelm you during grief. There is an overwhelming need to scream—to find a way to expel the pain that erodes our souls and breaks our hearts. We are lost, blind with the darkness of emptiness. In our minds we know that there is only One person who can help us. But our hearts ask, "How can we trust Him if He allowed THIS to happen?"
There are some places in life where we must go “alone.” No other human being, no matter how loving or empathetic, can go there with us. It has often been called "the dark night of the soul." It is the place where we must meet God face to face, knowing that our lives are seemingly meaningless in the immensity of the universe and the omnipotence of an infinite God. It is where we feel our lives tossed carelessly to the wind for the storm to rage against us—tearing us limb from limb, ripping our lives and hearts apart. The violence is immense; the pain unbearable; the emptiness consuming. We cry out WHY because it is all that we can do when we cannot find a way to reverse the pain that has overwhelmed us. I don’t have the answer; too many times, there is no answer that makes sense to us.
But…it is there where we can learn that, while omnipotence may be God’s nature, compassionate love is Who He Is. “I Am”: Why did God not put a descriptor on the end of His name? Yes, He is All—everything; but He didn’t say that. Instead, He said, “I AM.”
I can’t theologically alter God’s naming of himself, but He desires me to be completely convinced that I understand He Is Love and that He is All. I can only begin to truly know that when I’ve come to the end of myself—through that dark night—and walk out of that dark night into His arms, scarred, battered, broken, changed—but completely dependent on Him.
“It is doubtful whether God can bless a man greatly until He has hurt him deeply.” ―A.W. Tozer
Listening Library: Do I Trust You (Twila Paris)
“Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. God, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places.” (Habakkuk 3:17-19 ESV)
Do I Trust You
Sometimes my little heart can't understand What's in Your will, what's in Your plan. So many times I'm tempted to ask You "Why?" But I can never forget it for long. Lord, what You do could not be wrong; So I believe You, even when I must cry.
Do I trust You, Lord? Does the river flow? Do I trust You, Lord? Does the north wind blow? You can see my heart, You can read my mind And You've got to know, I would rather die Than to lose my faith in the One I love. Do I trust You, Lord? Do I trust You?
I know the answers, I've given them all But suddenly now, I feel so small Shaken down to the cavity in my soul. I know the doctrine and theology But right now they don't mean much to me. This time there's only one thing I've got to know
Do I trust You, Lord? Does the robin sing? Do I trust You, Lord? Does it rain in spring? You can see my heart, You can read my mind And You've got to know I would rather die Than to lose my faith in the One I love Do I trust You, Lord? Do I trust You?
I will trust You, Lord, when I don't know why I will trust You, Lord, till the day I die I will trust You, Lord, when I'm blind with pain You were God before and You'll never change I will trust You, I will trust You I will trust You, Lord I will trust You, I will trust You I will trust You, Lord I will trust You, I will trust You I will trust You, Lord
Songwriter: Twila Paris
Do I Trust You lyrics 1984© Universal Music Publishing Group