Words are tricky things! How we define something makes all the difference to how we react to the word and the meanings we give it.
Trust, for example, can make some people sweat at just the mention of the word because, for them,
trust has been broken,
has been painful,
has been dishonest.
But we must define words accurately in order to respond appropriately.
Trusting someone to hold my spot in line at the grocery store versus trusting someone to take care of my child while I go the grocery store are two very different levels of trust.
I think, oftentimes, we think about trust on the “child level” instead of the “grocery line level” so we stress and get backed up about trust because of our definition of trust.
We do this with lots of words.
Another example – “Love” – how do you define love?
Love can feel good and be romantic, it can be erotic and sexy, it can be soft and kind and generous BUT it can also be scratchy and hard and tough! Love does not always feel good even though it is good!
Loving someone they way they need to be loved is not always a popular thing.
Putting distance and setting boundaries in relationships can be the most loving thing you do for someone.
Saying “no” and holding your standards can be the most loving thing you do for someone.
Not giving in can be the most loving thing you do for someone.
Jesus was love, He loved well and it did not always feel good or look right to others. The rich young ruler in Matthew 19 Jesus allowed to walk away, the Pharisees in Matthew 23 He called out, for Jerusalem in Luke 19, He wept. The moneychangers in the temple in John 2 He drove out with a whip, overturning tables and scattering coins. Love does not always feel good!
Which brings me to the word – “Good” – another tricky word! What does it mean to you? Most people think of “good” as something wanted or wished for. The dictionary defines “good” as “to be desired or approved of,” but it also goes on to say, “benefit or advantage to someone or something.”
Sometimes, many times actually, the things that are good for us are not what we want or wish for but they are to our benefit and advantage. The valleys in our lives, those places we wrestle with God, ourself, and others produce much fruit in us if we allow them too!
I am working to be careful not to define something as “not good” when it doesn’t feel good.
My definition of “good” has to be
renewed, renovated, redefined!
Romans 8:28 And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.
God works everything for good:
the yuck in your life – for good!
the regrets from the past – for good!
the moments of pain and struggle – for good!
the current wrestle with injustice, rejection, bitterness – for good!
the feelings of loss and letting go – for good!
the clawing and fighting in the bottom of the pit – for good!
the stuck in the middle – for good!
the smothering of emotions – for good!
the numb and nothingness – for good!
“Good” – it’s a hard word!
Don’t be too quick to define the hard seasons of this life as “not good” because in those deep, dark places when all you have is Him; it is in those places that He shapes and molds and refines and prunes and sandpapers off all the rough edges and bumps that keep you looking like this world. In those secret places He showers His patient love so that in the end you look more like Him. He is good all the time, all the time He is good, even if it doesn’t feel good!