Written on May 19, 2016.
Today, I got to attend a women’s bible study in Arusha. I know what you all are thinking: Why would I go to Africa to attend women’s bible study? There’s plenty of those in Iowa!
True, but this group was made up of women from various countries of the world including Sudan, India, United States, Germany, and the Netherlands. They represented various organizations including Lutheran hospitals in Tanzania and Wycliffe Bible translators.
One of the women was named Eunice Simonson, and she stuck out to me especially. She was a frail and older woman, but she handled herself and her words with the grace that only a wise woman who has seen and learned many things in her life can. She told me and my friend Abby that she and her husband had received a “special call” to go out and minister to the Maasai tribes in the bush of Africa. Later I learned that they were basically the first to do so. Her husband was a pastor and she a nurse practitioner. She said she would get lines outside her door of people needing medical attention. Later on, the Maasai made her husband an elder, which is an extremely high honor. She offhandedly told me she wrote a book and that a book was written about her. After some Google searching, I found out her book is called I Count My Blessings. It is number one on my “to read” booklist right now. She is a wonderful example of the Lord’s faithfulness.
And faithful the Lord is, because His faithfulness was apparent in the Bible passage we read for our Bible study this morning. We read Psalm 6. I encourage you to read it too. It is only 10 verses, but it is a mournful prayer to God, asking Him to take away the anguish present in David’s life at that time. Verse 2 and 3 read:
“Have mercy on me, Lord, for I am faint;
heal me, Lord, for my bones are in agony.
My soul is in deep anguish.
How long, Lord, how long?”
But the last three verses are different from the rest of the text. They read:
“Away from me all you who do evil, for the LORD has heard my weeping. The LORD has heard my cry for mercy, the LORD accepts my prayer. All my enemies will be ashamed and dismayed; they will turn back in sudden disgrace.”
One of the women at Bible study did not understand how David could shift his thoughts so quickly. And she is right; do you often go from yelling at God to praising God in a matter of 10 verses? She suggested that David must have allowed some time to pass before he concluded with the last three verses.
This might be true. But in my mind, it is more likely that David wrote these words simply to remind himself that through all the pain and hardship and struggle, God is still God. And God is faithful and good and powerful.
Even though the enemy advances, God is still good.
Even though I can’t feel Him, God is still good.
Even when He seems silent, God is still good.
Even when I see street kids in Arusha who don’t go to school, God is still good.
Even though there is no rain on the dry and thirsty land in Mbuguni, God is still good.
Even though loved ones become ill and die, God is still good.
Sometimes our emotions don’t match up with what we know to be true about God. While emotions are generally helpful with validating our relationship with God, they can also stand in the way. Christians often say they feel and absence of God even though they know he is present. And that can be problematic.
But if we keep reminding ourselves that God is good like David does in this Psalm, we will eventually realize that we are right. We will see that God does strike down the enemy, that he is always present, that he is never silenced, that he cares for the street kids, that he will bring rain, and that he has conquered death. God. Is. So. Good.
Today, our group went and visited the Cradle of Love, which is a children’s home for kids 3 and younger. As I held and played with the children just briefly, I got so angry and sad that some of their parents had left them (this wasn’t the case for every child, but it certainly was for some of them).
Even when babies are abandoned, God is still good.
How? Sometimes I don’t know. Sometimes I am in Psalm 6 and I couldn’t tell you why I think God is good, just that I know that he is. And there are other days where I could tell you stories upon stories of how God has warped the evils of this world into things that stand as a symbol of His glory. For example, the adoption of some of these children into good and loving homes.
God is good. Always and forever.