The Garden

One day, in the fall of 2008, I decided to take a day of solitude.  I went to a nearby site with historic buildings and a large flower and plant garden.  The purpose was not to enjoy everything, but to quiet myself.  As I sat silently in a secluded vantage point in the garden, I was finally still enough inside to hear the voice of God.  He ministered deeply to my soul, assuring me that I could trust Him despite the pains of life.

A few days ago, I came across this paragraph in my readings.  Instantly I was transported back to the garden experience, because the words are nearly identical to what I heard that day.

“It is impossible to be wide open with someone you don’t trust, let alone with a God whom we cannot see and whose ways we don’t always understand!  Subconsciously (or even consciously), we may blame God for some of the difficulties and traumas we have experienced.  Though we may have a hard time admitting it, these traumas and disappointments have caused us to wonder, Is God really good?  If I trust myself to him, isn’t there a good chance that I will wind up where I least want to be or that God will withhold what I want the most?[1]

Amid seasons of pain and suffering, I must admit that it becomes difficult to trust that God is good.  That was in the fall of 2008, and I have returned to that conversation with God over and over.  When I try to continue as if nothing is wrong, my spirit slowly withdraws in pain.  When I admit the difficulty of trusting, it is as if He breathes new life and hope into me. 

No matter what we face, God is near.  He is able to field our toughest questions.  He is still good.  He is trustworthy.  No matter what we face, He has already faced it.  He walks with us in our suffering and strengthens our hearts.

Hebrews 12.3: For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart (New American Standard).

            [1] Ruth Haley Barton, Sacred Rhythms: Arranging Our Lives for Spiritual Transformation (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2006), 117.


  1. I like Psalm 23:3 through hard times, it says: "He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake."
    This verse acts a refrain to go back to for the rest of the chapter.

    The word restores means to bring back, but also revive. The use of the word testifies that God alone can bring us back, reverse our course when we’re headed into danger, or revive us when we’re cold, dry, or dead.

    The word righteousness means justice. The verse literally reads, "He brings my soul back; He guides me in the paths of justice for the purpose of His name."

    So even in the times where we are walking through the death-dark valleys/ravines; because even if the worst we think happens, God alone can bring us back, revive us, and reverse our course; and show us the paths of justice for the purpose of His name, and His name alone.

    Which is why Paul later says, "For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:38-39.

    So the question of "is God really good?" when we face difficulty is the wrong question. Our question should be, "can God bring us back, revive us, and reverse our course?"

  2. I appreciate your post: reversing, reviving. I think for me, I have to sit with my question. I have to sit in the silence. There are multiple angles that play through my head, but when I enter solitude and true silence, I am able to hear more clearly. Sometimes God answers my question. Sometimes He alters my question. Sometimes I just sit in His Presence, and that is the answer. However, I know I can take my difficult question to Him. When I sit still with my question, God speaks to me out of the silence (Ps. 46.10).


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