Yet, in the maddening maze of things,
And tossed by storm and flood,
To one fixed stake my spirit clings;
I know that God is good.
—John Greenleaf Whittier, “The Eternal Goodness”
Life is a series of storms and squalls. Winds howl and waves toss us mercilessly. Dark clouds roil, lightening flashes in brilliant sheets, thunder shakes the very air. Our boat takes on water and seems ready to sink.
People fall overboard and drown. Some die of fright, others from worry. Some cower in a corner and refuse to look. Still others race from stem to stern wailing and weeping.
Where is the Master? Is God asleep? Why does he not do something — now? Doesn’t he know, doesn’t he care, that we are in peril?
These questions are perennial. Man has asked them for ages. But they are crucial for us now. This is my pain. My fear. My danger. And the questions are mine to ask.
It seems nothing is solid in this life. Relationships wither. Friendships falter. Marriages fail. Children neglect their parents. Parents age and pass on.
Accidents rip loved ones away. Sickness steals mates and children from us. Jobs come and go. Houses burn or late payments lose properties.
Temptations rage and sin makes inroads. Resolutions so solid yesterday are but smoke today. Honesty is broken in the crucible, purity trashed in passion.
Life is but one great loss.
So it would seem. But there is more.
There is a God who cares. Who lets us suffer. Because he knows the suffering — which he himself has felt — draws us nearer. If we’ll let it.
This is the one fixed stake to which we cling. Not as a wishful thought, but as a solid footing. Not a wisp of cloud, but the rock of being.
“Surely your goodness and faithfulness will pursue me all my days, and I will live in the Lord’s house for the rest of my life” Psalm 23.6.