The groceries are tucked away on pantry shelving, plump watermelons, sufficiently thumped to determine their quality, perched far back on the counter tops, and bright red strawberries giving off their delicious scent every time I open the fridge door.
The children are quietly napping, legs curled underneath them as they snuggle under their covers. It's hot outside (the temperature gauge registers 101° F), but inside, I can hear the hum of the air conditioning, the whir of the fan above me, and the feline-like purr of the refrigerator.
I snuggle deeper into the cush of the couch, One Thousand Gifts (Ann Voskamp), a gift from a great friend and sister in Christ, spread open to where I had previously saved my spot with a green Crayola pencil. I flip back a few pages, resting my eyes upon phrases and paragraphs I had underlined with that same pencil.
This book is amazing, and I've only just cracked it. These last couple days, it has spurred me to blog about some of the thoughts and struggles I've been battling these last few months (blogged at A Fighting Faith). It is as if the author has captured my own thoughts, fears, and intimate spiritual tussles. I'm sure that's why Nanci gave it to me.
It seems to go hand in hand with the other book I've only just begun (The Power of the Spirit by William Law, which I have also blogged about at AFF).
Ann's words press into me:
I wake up and put the feet to the plank floors, and I believe the Serpent's hissing lie, the repeating refrain of his campaign through the ages: God isn't good. It's the cornerstone of his movement. That God withholds good from His children, that God does not genuinely, fully love us.
I am reminded of the first few lines of the first chapter in Law's book.
"There is but one that is good, and that is God." This was true when God had as yet created nothing; and this truth has not changed after He has created innumerable hosts of blessed and holy heavenly beings.I've been pondering these things for a while, but only recently have I been able to actually pin-point what, exactly, has been on my mind. I suppose that doesn't make much sense unless you've been peeking into my brain. With all these thoughts flip-flopping and cartwheeling through this noggin, I never stopped to consider that, at the base of it all, I was questioning the goodness of God, not just whether He really loves me.
Maybe the two go hand-in-hand as a couple paragraphs later, Ann notes the same thoughts that have plagued me as well.
Does God really love me? If He truly, deeply loves me, why does He withhold that which I believe will fully nourish me? Why do I live in this sense of rejection, of less than, of pain?She eventually comes to the same conclusion I have, one which I am still working out within my own life. I could tell you, but it's hard to explain without quoting the whole second chapter or writing a half-dozen entries explaining how I got there myself (which probably won't make much sense anyway).
I lay the book beside me, marking it's place with Law's book. I stare out the window, most of the view hoarded by my neighbor's red brick walls and gray peaked roof except for at the very top. The sky is a bright blue, beautifully landscaped (skyscaped?) with fluffy white clouds.
It hasn't rained in a long time. The sky looks beautiful but the land looks parched, starved. The sprinklers barely keep it alive. We need rain. Nourishing, life-giving rain. This city water is a poor substitute. The grass crunches under our feet. It's no longer the soft, lavish rug it was months ago. It's crisp and yellowing, bare in some spots. The ground is hard.
The weeds thrive while the garden withers. Honestly, I've given up on that patch. The cucumber vines have disintegrated. The corn stalks had a good start, but even though I tried to water them daily, they couldn't hold up through the heat and drought. My husband plucked them out months ago. I had hoped they'd pull through. They were so close.
The bellpepper plants have produced two peppers, both of which disappeared before they had fully matured. The zucchini produced many buds, but only one zucchini. It too became food for the wild. Our carrots have been quite pitiful. Thankfully, we've been able to enjoy some of the fruit of our labor- our varieties of tomatoes did well, although we have not had anything from those plants since the drought hit us harder.
It's a metaphor for my own life recently, I'm sure of it, except I suppose I've been watered quite well and have still failed to grow much. Or maybe it's just that I've failed to turn on the spigot. That's probably more like it. The Source of life, the satisfaction for my thirst, has been there all along. Waiting. Calling. And I'm over here questioning whether He really loves me, if He's really good.
(Also see my recent post on A Fighting Faith: Do I believe God is good all the time?)