Still good

She’d heard the long hushed conversations. She’d caught me brush away a tear. She’d prayed with me every night for her aunt (my twin). Finally she asked,

“What is MS anyway?”

I put her off. “I’ll tell you when you’re older.”

“You and Daddy seem to do this a lot. I ask a question and you always say you’ll tell me when I’m older. But I want to know a lot of stuff now. I’m seven years old!”

I smiled. “Oh, my Hope. Ok. So. Our bodies have things called nerves. Think of a nerve like the cable we use to charge Rhema’s iPad. Nerves carry messages from the brain to other parts of the body – like your eyes and your elbows and your feet – and tell them what to do. Cool, right? And we have a ton of nerves in our body. When you have MS the lining that covers the nerves gets damaged and forms lots of scars. It makes it hard for the brain to get messages to other parts of the body. So sometimes people with MS have trouble seeing or walking or using their hands and other stuff.”

“But then they take medicine and it goes away.”

“Well, no. There are medicines that might help them feel better. But… there is no medicine that will make this go away.”

I watched the understanding sink in and saw my fears mirrored back as she thought of her beloved aunt, and her eyes filled.

I hurried on, “But isn’t it so cool how our brains are like computers? I’m holding this cup right now and I’m looking at you and breathing and thinking and talking and there is so much, Hope, a million miraculous things going on inside me to make that happen-”

And then she said something she’s heard and said many times and come to believe,

“God is good all the time.”

The moment I knew Rhema had autism I called my sister. She listened and cried and prayed with me and comforted me. Then she hung up the phone and went to the emergency room because she had no feeling in her legs. That same day she was diagnosed with MS. Since then, eight years ago, my greatest fears in life have centered around my daughter and my sister.

The mind is very good at imagining disastrous endings. Still, all along I have made a choice to believe that God will care for them, even better than me. But a series of seemingly unfavorable events in recent weeks forced me to ask “What if God doesn’t come through?”, “What if my deepest fears one day are realized?” And there was an earthquake because everything around me seemed to come crashing down and I was shaken to the core.

But Hope was waiting. I was supposed to say it back in reverse. It’s an old Don Moen song, and they say it in the church I grew up in in a call and response style, “God is good all the time…”

This is silly, I thought. I don’t have to say it. I’m angry. I’m lost. I’ve never been so scared.

But Hope was waiting.

“All the time God is good.”

I mumble-whispered it. Because trusting still sits well with my soul.

Saying the words forced me to remember what is true, and this is true: The Maker of brains and voices and myelin sheaths and fingers and feet is good. And His mercy and goodness follow me, follow my sister, follow my Rhema and Hope and Brandon, all the moments of the days of our lives. Never once has there been a lapse in His goodness. He walks besides us all the way.

Endings, yes. But not disastrous when you have the hope of heaven where there will be no more disability, pain, sickness and sorrow. Some call it all a crutch or Santa Claus. For us it is “hope maketh not ashamed.”


“Though I may not understand
All the plans you have for me
My life is in your hands
And through the eyes of faint
I can clearly see that
God is good all the time.”
~Don Moen

12 thoughts on “Still good

  1. Thank you for writing this. I struggle with this A LOT. Was just at church on Sunday singing songs about God’s goodness, then saw two church members who are really struggling with cancer. The voice is my head whispered furiously, “How are you trusting in a God who allows THIS?” I am begging God to help me live with an unoffended heart. Thank you for this reminder of where our hope really lies. Prayers for your dear sister!!

  2. All ways, always, God is so good, He’s so good to me. I have been lifting you and Brandon and Rhema and Hope for some time now, thankful for your honesty and your witness. I have added your sister to this family circle for prayer. Praying for peace, comfort, and healing.

  3. Praying for your sister and all of your family! God bless! You taught Hope well to trust in God and to know He is good (all the time) at such a young age.

  4. I never forget your sister in all my prayers for your family. I hope she knows that there are a lot of people praying for her and holding her in our hearts … Just as we hold Brandon (especially when he is away) and Rhema and you and Hope.

  5. My favorite pastor used to say this all the time. And sometimes I would find it annoying because, well .. I just didn’t believe it. Thank you for the reminder. I’m with you. Somehow, someway, it just has to be true.

    Praying for you, dear friend, and those precious ones you love. God truly is good all the time.

  6. I love every word of this. And I struggle with it too. I guess that’s another thing about God. God gives us one another. ❤

  7. God IS still good. He still IS in control. He has and will continue to be with you and your precious family every step of the way. He is the I AM, THAT I AM. He is the hope of eternal glory. He is a friend that sticks closer than a brother. We can fully trust in Him because He is trustworthy. Praying, praying, praying Neily, Ne, and Rhema….praying, trusting, believing, hoping in the Maker and Sustainer of life itself with you. Love you.

  8. Thought of your post all day yesterday and had a million responses in my head. Then realized I hadn’t written them down. Surely they were prayers heard by that very good God of ours. I want to hug that Hope; how awesome that God gave her to you to keep you on track. 🙂 This life is but a blink, and it is the everlastingly beautiful ending that keeps me believing in the goodness of God. The rewards of steadfast belief are worth much more than we can dream.

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