written by Dani Kreeft
Right before lunch on day one, I was up next to share in a small group, but I was pretty much ready to burst into tears. I didn’t want to talk -- about anything. I’d voluntarily signed up for this workshop, but suddenly wondered why.
When we broke for lunch, I explained to my friend what had happened. I punctuated it with, “Honestly, I’d rather just stuff this all down.”
“Why do you want to stuff it down?” she asked.
All those tears came right back up. Instantaneously. All the undeniable emotion sat like a fractured lump half-alive in my throat.
“I don’t want to talk about it anymore,” I blurted. “I’ve wanted the same thing for twenty years, and I’m done talking about it. It’s the same story. I’m so tired. God gives me desires to draw me near to Him, but am I ever going to get any of them?!”
My voice was a dead giveaway: my hope was in the gutter. To me, God had become a desire-tease. He strung along my hopes like dangling carrots from the roof of my soul, not to fulfill me, but to trick me into being close to Him. And the pain I experienced through unfulfilled desires was a lure to build intimacy. I’d call out to Him and He’d get what He wants – me -- but I’d never get what I longed for. It was a brutal cycle, and one I wanted out of.
After lunch we all walked into the afternoon sessions, but I felt like I was being wheeled in – straight into surgery. This raw, unhealed wound had me split wide open.Ironically enough, the next session centered around the truth that God was good. And I’d heard that a million times before:
- Read it professed in prayers.
- Observed its announcement on glossy plaques.
- Heard it spoken and sung off the pulpit.
God is good. I get it.
But because I’d focused on my unfulfilled desires and decided that God wasn’t good, I lived that only in theory. I’d taken my experience, walked up to the truth, painfully painted right over it and walked away. And it wasn’t until the sessions and coaching that I woke up to the difference between how God saw my life and how I saw it, how God framed my experiences and how I framed them.
That afternoon, He took my hand and walked me back to that painting of my life. But instead of wiping away my aching scribbles and vindictive splotches, He invited me right into it, into the experience of my story from His perspective. And it was beyond anything I’d ever seen.
He’d resuscitated everything from the ashes. Absolutely everything. Where I’d seen only mountain ranges of failure and brokenness littered with abandoned heartbreak, there was this whole paradise being built, beauty being crafted, seeds being planted to untold things I could barely drink in with my eyes.
It was beyond good, past tear-jerkingly good. It was just … luminous. I’ll never forget what it looked like being there with Him.
“This is my goodness alive in you,” He said. “This is what we’ve always been up to, what we’ve always been creating with your life.”
And yeah, I cried.
Oh, I cried.
Not just because of what He’d shown me, but because I knew that to replace an old lie with a new truth, you have to experience it. You can’t just hear it or say it or read it, you have to experience it to know it, to know it in your soul.
So, now I was going to get to experience the goodness of God. And it was only the beginning.