I first really thought about God’s goodness after spending a week in prison. No, not as a prisoner, but as part of a medical missions team in Suriname, South America. Toward the end of the week-long mission trip our team visited the juvenile prison. I’ve never been in a juvenile detention center in the US, but I can’t imagine it being as bad as this one.
After holding our medical clinic we visited the cells where these boys were locked up. Some were as young as 11 years old – children, locked up for things as simple as stealing food to feed their families. Some were older. We stood outside the tiny cells that barely held two people, a bunk bed, and the bucket used as a toilet. We were there to bring medical care and Christ’s love, but they ministered Christ’s love to me.
As we stood outside the cells, these teenagers sang for us, songs like “Lord, prepare me to be a sanctuary.” They sang a song that was new to me and has forever been stuck in my head: “God is a good God, yes He is. He picks me up, turns me ‘round, and sets my feet on higher ground.”
I fought tears and asked God “How could anyone in these circumstances sing that God is good?” Sure, I knew in my head that God is good, but I also knew that if I was a kid locked up, I would probably be questioning His goodness. In that moment as I fought tears I was definitely wondering.
Later, as I showered off the grime of the day I sensed the Lord speaking to me: “Don’t ever doubt that I am good.” I returned home from that mission trip and faced some serious challenges in my world. Although I had a pretty idealistic childhood, I discovered life to be a lot harder in my 20s. It’s easy to say God is good when “life is good”, but trials can make a person wonder!
At times when I would begin to doubt, I’d remember that moment of seeing kids in jail. In that dark place, they believed God’s goodness. A person can’t sing so joyfully in a place so grim without faith. God’s word says He’s good, and that is enough. But I am thankful to know a God who demonstrates His word.
Since that moment I have seen God’s goodness…
… when I have financial struggles.
… when loneliness threatens to overpower me.
… when fertility does not come easily.
… when a child or loved one dies seemingly too soon.
… when I watch a marriage end in divorce.
… when a great friendship comes to an abrupt end.
The words in Psalm 27:13 remind me: “I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.” After my experience in the prisons of South America it settled deeply in my soul that God is good, yes He is!
Betsy uses her life experience to blog at CherokeeChix.com. She lives in North Carolina where she sells insurance by day and then sells Thirty-One Gifts for fun! She spends a lot of time caring for other people’s children and looks forward to having her own. She and her husband Mike work hard and desire to pursue all God has called them to.
Things that make her happy include: traveling with Mike, drinking a fresh cup of coffee, reading a good book, and spending time with family and friends. She is thankful for the hope she has in God who makes all things new, and she’s so glad to know His goodness.