Recently, I attended the funeral of Deputy Sandeep Dhaliwal. Sandeep was a Sikh, which meant his funeral was a Sikh religious service. It was a very beautiful service, full of chants and songs. For the most part, they had a lot of translations up on the jumbo tron (it was held in a stadium because over 7,000 people came to honor him) so that those of us who were not of their faith could know what they were saying. I was also sitting next to a friend of mine who was a Sikh, so he could translate for me.
The bulk of the chants were things like, “God is the victor”, and “God is good”, generally praising God. I think a funeral is a perfect time to ask this question; especially a funeral for someone who was brutally murdered simply for the job that he did- a job that is all about helping people.
Sandeep’s death really hit me hard, and I found myself sitting in the service as everyone was chanting “God is good”, and asking myself, “Is He really?”
When there is so much evil all around us…… It’s hard to see it.
When there is so much pain all around us…. It’s hard to see it.
When there is so much hatred in the world….. It’s hard to see it.
When there is so much struggle…. It’s hard to see it.
Sometimes, I have to work to see it. Sometimes, I feel surrounded by all the tough stuff of life, and I have to look real hard to find the good. This week alone, I watched pieces of my husband fade away as we faced Sandeep’s death, my Autistic son struggled in BIG ways to make friends and feel loved and accepted, and my 15 year old son had a meltdown because he lost his Microsoft account info and all of the challenge questions were about his biological mom and he didn’t know any of the answers, and I got some other news about another family member about a health crisis we will be facing soon. I’l admit it. I feels a little like drowning right now.
Part of the reason I’m writing this blog is to work through this question of ‘Is God Good’. I’m still asking it. Today, I’ll go to church and continue to ask it. And you know what? It’s ok to ask. If I believe that God is God, and He is the creator of the Universe, and He is Omnipresent, then I have to believe that He can handle my questions.
I also believe that you find what you’re looking for.
So, I’ll be looking for ways God is good.
He’s good when we come together as a community in love.
He’s good when I just “happen” to walk into a funeral of 7,000 people at the same time as my three friends from church without calling to find out where they’ll be.
He’s good when you have friends who spend their Saturday helping you move your belongings.
He’s good when your child smiles.
He’s good when you get a snuggle from a grandchild.
He’s good when you face difficult times, and know that you don’t have to face them alone.
He’s good when the world is spinning around you, and you just need to retreat and sit with the Holy Spirit.
He’s good when we can help ourselves by helping others.
He’s good when we’re truly honest, and share with those we are close to us that we are not ok all the time.
And yes, He’s even good in the darkness.
After my cousin died, I spent a lot of time in what I call the valley. It’s sort of a grief valley, or sometimes it feels like a grief tunnel. Now, I recognize it more quickly when I return to the valley. I’ll admit, I don’t like spending time in this valley. It’s cold, and dark, and a little frightening. But, if I’m honest, it’s also a quiet place. A place of retreat, sort of. When tragedy strikes, we naturally have a retreat response. We take the extras off of our plate to deal with the imminent. In this place in the valley where it’s quiet, is a place where God has a unique opportunity to speak to us. I have had my most intimate moments with God in this valley.
So, while I don’t chose to visit this valley, and it causes me to ask hard questions, like “Is God Good?”, it is in this valley that He answers me.