Tuesday, April 14, 2009
God Is So Good
How easy it is for us to take God for granted! His daily blessings are so profound and His faithfulness ever present, yet we go about our lives so many times without really thinking about how good God really is. We don't always remember that it is because of God's grace and mercy that we live happy, fulfilling lives. We are, too often, so busy living that we forget to thank the giver of life. We are human and, as such, sometimes neglect to give God the glory. It's not that we are ungrateful, we are just not good about saying so.
This truth was brought home to me the last time I visited my friend, Ricky Beal. Ricky had been diagnosed some months before with glioblastoma--a fast growing, devastating tumor of the brain that is very difficult to treat and, ultimately, becomes terminal. He had had surgery to remove the tumor and, as a result, suffered dramatic memory loss. It was hard for me to think of my friend suffering in this way. He and his wife, Lila, had been my friends for several years and were very dear to my heart. Ricky played the guitar in our church and his wife sang with our praise team. How I loved to play music with Ricky. His love of music was so obvious and his love of the Lord came out in every song he played. He was such a blessing. The above picture shows him on a hunting trip--something he really enjoyed.
I was priviledged to visit Ricky and Lila in their home just months before Ricky died. As I pulled up the driveway, they both came out on the porch to greet me. I looked at Ricky and saw the grin on his face. He didn't speak but he hugged me tight and I knew he was glad I had come. We went inside, sat down on the couch, and Lila updated me on all that had happened to Ricky. As a result of the tumor and the surgery, Ricky had lost a lot of his memory. I noticed when he spoke that he would forget the word he wanted to say and would look to Lila to finish the sentence. I asked him if he remembered us playing music together and he said, "I remember a little.". He told me that he had trouble putting words together to speak because he couldn't remember what certain words meant.
As I got ready to leave a couple of hours later, Ricky made a statement I will NEVER forget. With some difficulty he said to me, "Marie, I can't play my guitar anymore because I don't remember how to make the chords. I can't read my Bible because I can't figure out the words. By the time I put the letters together, I have forgotten what the word is. I miss reading my Bible most of all. But I can tell you this one thing--in spite of everything God has been so good to me. Yeah, He's sure been good to me.".
Do I need to tell you that the tears filled my eyes as I looked at my friend? Do I need to say what courage I saw in those beautiful eyes? I thought to myself, here is a man who has lost lovely memories of his family and his life; here is a man who can no longer play the music that he loves; here is a man who can no longer read the Word of God for himself, yet he says God is good. What courage, what faith!
Months later, I visited Ricky in the hospital. I walked into his room and thought he was asleep. He must have heard me coming because he opened his eyes, looked up at me with a smile and said, "Hey, Marie.". I didn't stay long. I had a feeling it would be my last time to see him--and it was. Ricky died shortly after that.
His words, however, have stayed with me. "God is so good to me.".
I am challenged everyday to remember the goodness of God in the face of life's adversities. I am reminded that life is not fair but God is. I cannot remember a time when God failed to be there for me even in the midst of the very hardship He allowed. God is so good. As I look back over my life and remember each time life hit me hard, I recall a blessing of God was there through a song, a friendly word, a prayer, the love of my family and friends. I am reminded of His promise that He will never leave us or forsake us. God is so good to me--I can't complain.