Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. I’m gonna be honest right off the bat. I don’t want to put you through any fluff here. I don’t want to just fill space.
Thanksgiving day will forever be marked for me as the hardest season of my life.
I don’t want to get into this to share my story just to get it out. Honestly, I have a journal for that. I am convinced all the way down in my soul that you who are reading this may just be right there, too. Just like I felt: stuck in the dark, searching for the goodness of God. Because He just seems nowhere to be found.
Two years ago, we waited for my dad to die. The lights stayed off for days on end. We spoke in whispers because he was sensitive to noise. We spent every second wondering if it was the last, living in constant anxiety wondering if we were doing it right. It was not like I pictured. I believed God was there because He promised He would be, but… it was just so silent. It was so dark and so still. I guess we experienced peace, but it just felt quiet and anxious.
Are you there now? Do you know exactly what this feels like? You’re trying so hard to trust God. You’re searching for Him, because He promised to be with you. But you’re digging and it feels like He must have forgotten.
There are probably the rare moments when you feel like He’s maybe still there. Those still moments with your loved ones. The sunsets when it literally looks like God painted the sky with a brush. The early mornings when it’s just you, before the rest of the house wakes up. I could see Him there, too. But in the deep, foundational parts of me, I wondered for months on end, “Are You still good?”
And now two years later, I know it for a fact. As I doubted and questioned and frantically sought for God, I was convinced He was disappointed. When it was actually a part of His restoration plan for me.
It was in my digging and my searching where God was remaking me. My desperation to find out who He really was. It’s so easy to see His goodness in the good. It really is. In the calm and the bright and the silent and the joy, we can feel His goodness deep down. But in the panic and the dark, we have to search. It’s got to be deeper. In order to find stronger and more rooted goodness, we can’t find it on the surface. There’s so much more. Very honestly, I believe I will never doubt again that God loves me and will never change. I could never have known the depth of His character if I didn’t have to walk through the “even if not” part of Him.
We’ve somehow believed that if the feelings of joy and contentment aren’t automatic on the surface, we must be missing it. God must be disappointed. Instead, our desperate search is an invitation to discover even deeper depths of a perfectly loving God.
“Then [with a deep longing] you will seek Me and require Me [as a vital necessity] and you will find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13
So listen, if you’re digging deep to look for the goodness of God, you’re in the right spot. If you can’t see Him, it’s not because He’s far away. He’s drawing you closer to Himself, deeper to the Truth of who He wants to be in your life. He hasn’t moved, but He’s waiting to reveal more of Himself to you. He isn’t satisfied with a surface relationship with you. He has not caused any of your pain, but He will absolutely use it to draw you even closer.
If nothing else, let me tell you what is absolutely true one more time: you are not alone. Not just because I’ve been there, too, but because Jesus has. Not only did Jesus have to walk through His own suffering, He watched the suffering of others’. With all of the power of Heaven, He followed the perfect will of His Father in every circumstance. And He is with you now. The God who gave up everything is longing to be found by you.
You may not see it now, but try to trust me. There is more to Him, and more to you. He has not forgotten you.
“But from there you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him if you search for Him with all your heart and all your soul.” [Deuteronomy 4:29]