Guest Writer: Ruthie White
As I reflect on the semester during this special Thanksgiving season, I see that it has been incredibly beautiful, and I have seen the Lord work in mighty ways. Right now though, my department at school is going through tremendous grief and loss. It’s hard to think straight, let alone see the goodness of God.
Have you ever been there?
It’s hard to see the goodness of God when we don’t see answered prayer. It’s hard to see the goodness of God when it feels like He’s withholding a good thing. It’s hard to see the goodness of God when every dream seems to be crumbling around you.
I wrote a song this week called “Good Things” as a cry to the Lord for myself, my friends, and my department. The chorus goes like this:
“Oh Lord I know you are more
I know you are greater than I understand
and Lord you’re who I’m longing for
but I am distracted by a lie that takes my hand and says
good things aren’t in store
where is your Lord”
This post is for those, like me, who need a reminder that God is still good even when it seems like He isn’t giving good things. The Lord has given me SO MUCH. But, like most humans, I still find more things that I want. Here’s a little testimony about God’s goodness in something I’ve always wanted but never had.
Several months ago, I drove down to Murray to go to my sibling’s BCM spring formal, which my sister Marina put on two years in a row. I love going to Murray and invading my siblings’ space. At one point in the night, they played Ed Sheeran’s “Perfect,” and I watched my two siblings and cousin dance sweetly with their significant others while I danced around the room by myself.
That moment was full of joy and the sting of loneliness at the same time. The Lord truly had given me contentment in my singleness, and I was beyond happy for my family and their new relationships, but it was hard to be the only one still single. Stupid thoughts flew into my head like, “Well maybe if I chose to go to Murray for college, I would be in a relationship by now too.” Or, “Why do all of their significant others happen to be my age and my year in school, and I can’t even find a date?” Or, “I’m unlovable and obnoxious and will never have a boy like me EVER.”
I have had the desire for a husband for as long as I can remember. I’m a 4 on the Enneagram, and don’t you dare put me in this box, but one of the nicknames for that personality type is “the Romantic.” That personality truly has manifested itself in my desire to have a perfect relationship my entire life. The desire to love and be loved has always been so deeply ingrained in my heart. But even now, at 20 years old, I’ve never been in a relationship.
I have story upon story of kinda-almost-relationships that never worked out. The Lord has protected me in crazy, powerful ways, despite my fighting. Although it was always heartbreaking, now I am so thankful for His “no” is every circumstance because I see a little glimpse of why that “no” was good. However, I still wonder, “Why hasn’t there been a ‘yes’ yet?” because, in my singleness, I so often believe the lie that God is withholding good from me.
The Lord truly has given me great joy in Him and trust in His timing, but I still have days of incredible loneliness. My journal is full of beautiful prayers of thankfulness where the Lord reveals more of Himself to me juxtaposed against pitiful whining about wanting a guy.
I think I will always have the desire for a husband. Contentment doesn’t mean that desire goes away, but it is a deep knowledge that Christ Himself meets our greatest desire. The desire to be in a loving, trusting marriage is one given to me by the Lord, but I can’t love that idea more than I love the Lord. In the Lord’s goodness, He has allowed me to remain single because I have needed that space to learn that He is the only one I should love and treasure above everything.
I don’t know what the Lord has in store, but I know I don’t want to waste my life chasing after a guy who isn’t going to chase me. I want to chase after the God who pursued me first. If a guy comes along too, that’s great. But if he doesn’t, that doesn’t make God any less good. Sure, I might have days where my feelings scream to me that this loneliness is anything but good, but I am not a slave to my feelings. I am a slave, a follower, of Jesus Christ.
God’s goodness isn’t determined by what He’s given us, but by who He is. He is so much more than we deserve. So, in your loneliness, in your loss, in your pain, the Lord is there with you. Even when it seems He doesn’t answer your prayers, even in voids we can’t understand, He is still good. The world is broken. There is pain that can’t be explained. But one day, we will see our Savior, and everything will be restored. But even now, even in the pain, He is still good.
“He is here among the broken things
Bringing life to the dead heart in me
In pain He’s not taking good away
For in our brokenness pain is all we deserve
So in every mercy every breath I see
Lord you give good things”