Blindsided by God … But Never Betrayed
Wild, But Good
God promises to stand by our side in the midst of our suffering, like a faithful friend or counselor. But these are not the only promises that he makes. No, God is a God of salvation, of healing, of redemption—but on his terms, not on our own.
Often we feel betrayed by God because he fails to do the things that we ask of him, in the way that we want, and in the timeframe that we requested. And this kind of response would be justified if we served a God who was like a customer service agent, dedicated only to pleasing and placating us. But of course that is not who God is at all—he is the Alpha and Omega. He does not do our bidding, and does not cater to our whims. He is wild.
But in the words of Mr. Beaver from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, he is wild, but he is good. God may not do things the way we requested, but that is not to say that he does not work on our behalf. As we read in Romans 8, he is working all things for the good of those who love him, but he does so in his own mysterious ways. God does whatever he wants, but whatever he does is good.
Minutes before my wife's mastectomy, the surgeon called me into the prep area with unbelievable news: A routine blood test had revealed that Carol was pregnant with our third child. Experts from around the country advised us to terminate the pregnancy to give my wife the best chance for survival. We politely declined their advice, proceeding with her pregnancy and chemotherapy at the same time. In the fall of that year, my wife gave birth to a son—perfectly healthy, protected by God from the toxic and caustic chemotherapy drugs that had swirled around him in utero for months.
What's more, the latest research revealed that women who have breast cancer have a better chance at survival when pregnant, meaning that in some way, my son served as a divine kind of medicine for his mother. This amazing finding, released months after my son's birth, was known only to God at the time we discovered the pregnancy. After all of this, our doctor told us not to expect any more children, on account of the chemotherapy. But no one told God this news, because he saw fit to bless us with one more child, a beautiful little girl we named Lucy.
I had asked God for a healthy church, and he gave us two healthy children instead. I had asked for success, and he gave us salvation. I had prayed that I might witness good things in my life, and he showed me miraculous ones instead. To be honest, he did not answer a single prayer request in the way that I had asked, but instead gave me things so much deeper and richer. It was as if I had asked him for a rhinestone, and he gave me a precious diamond instead. And only a fool laments the absence of the rhinestone when a diamond lies in his hand.