One of the most profound lessons I have learned in the Valley of the Shadow came in the very moment I heard of Luke's death.
It is this...as a believer in Christ I must "decide" now what I believe about God. Now. Before the storm hits...before the battle rages...before. Now.
It is equivalent to be trained for battle, adept with my weapons, dressed in my armor.
I don't say this meaning I can create for myself Who God is.
Not at all.
What I do mean is that, as a Christ-follower, I must KNOW Who the Word of God declares God to be. And then I must purpose in my heart that I will never allow myself to believe anything other than that.
No matter what my feelings or circumstances seem to indicate.
God's Word is perfect and unchanging...my feelings and circumstances are not.
Many times over the years, I have purposefully studied the attributes of God. Most recently I co-taught a study on A.W. Tozer's Knowledge of the Holy. Through all of the varying valleys I have traversed, WHO God is has been what has held me together.
Knowing God is sovereign, loving, faithful, all-powerful, all-knowing, righteous, just, perfect, compassionate, holy...good...has been the anchor for my soul. I have tied myself to that and cried out to God to never let me let go the Truth
I want to see every new trial through WHO He is not...not the other way around.
When God and Satan discussed Job, Satan's goal was to get Job to curse God. His first tactic? To get Job to doubt WHO God is by muddying the waters with difficult circumstances.
Satan (our adversary) has the exact same desire for each and every believer.
The astounding reality of this confronted me during that phone call.
What I didn't share previously about that phone call was this:
Right after the woman from our adoption agency spoke the words about Luke's sudden illness and death, I felt the enemy of my soul whisper: "So, Mandy, is God good now?"
Not audibly, but it might as well have been.
I was so stunned at the obvious frontal attack on the nature of God and the low-down, dirty timing of it.
Immediately, I replied in my heart...yes, He is good all of the time.
Right then and there I purposed to declare His goodness in this trial as often as I had opportunity. If you have followed this blog these last few months, I pray that this has been evident even through my tears.
He IS good! He is always good...and I will shout it from the rooftops that even during this great loss, He has been so good to me.
Satan wanted me to curse God, but I refuse. God is good...all of the time. Had I not seen in Scripture and determined to believe that God's goodness is WHO He is not what my circumstances are...I would have been easy pickings for the enemy.
So, another flower was discovered in the Valley. This flower of God's unchanging goodness served to open my eyes to look for more...more flowers of His goodness in the Valley of the Shadow of Death. Satan, who had come to destroy my faith in God, had actually served as a herald of my task...to be looking for the flowers of God's goodness. His goodness became the lens through which I knew I had to choose to see all that was going on.
Surely goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord