February 08, 2017

He's a Good, Good Father

The first time I heard this song I was sitting in a mini-bus, surrounded by (kinda loud, southern) Americans (you know who you are and I love you guys - but it was the first time in over a year, it was shocking!), riding through the streets of South Africa. It was surreal, to say the least. They were all singing along and I was completely lost. Being in Tanzania has meant I'm definitely not with the "up & coming" worship music trends. But the short-term missionary team I was with seemed to love the song because they played it every time we were in the van together. So it got stuck in my head, a lot.  It's a catchy tune.
Here, just in case you haven't had the privilege of hearing it yourself, give it a listen:
I'm not normally a fan of Chris Tomlin's style, and the words didn't even grab me really.
But then I saw the face of God.
It wasn't even during that song. It was this one:

But that's not the point. The point is.
Face. Of. God.
We were singing the chorus "You are good, good, ohhhh" and I was all in. I didn't care about the 200 women around me, I didn't care if my makeup was making a mass exodus off my face. I was completely and totally immersed in the Spirit and trying, *really* trying to believe those words I was singing.
But all I could think about was the little baby that had to lose his life, so mine would be saved. All I could think about was having to sign those papers in the hospital, giving the doctors permission - telling them it was okay - to take my living child out of my womb, ending his life so that I would live. And it was so hard for me to believe those words I was singing.
And He knew.
He felt it. And He showed me his face.
I'm not being all cliche or "Christian-ey" or alluding to anything metaphorical.
He. Literally. Showed me His face.
And you know what it looked like?
He was crying. Tears, big ones. Streaming off his face just as fiercely as the ones streaming down my own. And then he spoke. His mouth was moving as the tears were streaming and he said:
"It hurts me too."

And that's when I got it.
That moment was a turning point. I always "knew" he was good. You know, all the Christians say it. The Bible says it. It's true. Moving on.
But no.
From that moment on, the Truth, that God is a Good, Good Father, took hold of me and my broken heart and it wrecked me.
And I couldn't help but have a goofy smile spread across my face as we continued worshiping with that song. The goofy smile and the million tears and the streaky make-up probably  definitely had me looking a Hot Mess. But I didn't care. Because the Joy that could only come from the Father had overtaken my spirit, and I knew.
I absolutely knew. Without a single hesitation, doubt or question in my mind.
I knew.
God. Is. Good.
So the next time I heard "Good Good Father," I listened a little more closely to the lyrics. And it captured my spirit. Because I really got it. His goodness is something that so many will try to convince you of, try to explain even. But until you encounter Him and he shows you, truly, how good He is - it's just not something you can grasp.
But I have. And I'm never letting go of it.

All the hard.
Like struggling to find housing during furlough and ending up with seven different hosts in seven months. 
You are perfect in all of your ways
You are perfect in all of your ways
You are perfect in all of your ways to us
We ended up with friends we would have never met, relationships made stronger than we could ever hope for, and a new community rallying around us.  Not to mention a little bootcamp for the lifestyle (we had yet to realize) we'd be transitioning to.

All the horrible.
Like losing our rainbow baby and almost my own life within mere minutes of a seemingly normal fever.
But I've heard the tender whispers of love
in the dead of night 
and you tell me
that you're pleased 
and I'm never alone... 
He showed me his face, and I'm forever changed.

All the unexpected.
Like saying good-bye to a country we've raised our child in, a country that's been home for three years and a community that's stood with us through so much, to venture into the unknown yet again.
As you call me, deeper still
As you call me, deeper still
As you call me, deeper still 
into love, love, love
He spoke to me again, this time as these lyrics were being played during an intimate worship night. As I questioned his plan for us to move from Tanzania to Australia, I asked  told him, "You said Africa. Then you said Tanzania. Then you said Moshi. This was it. This was our calling as full-time missionaries. We're here. We're doing it. We're serving. Sacrificing. Giving. Loving. Living. What else could you want?"
And he said, "You never 'arrived.' There's always something more. Something deeper. Something harder. Something that causes you to rely on me more than you ever thought you'd have to. Africa was not 'it'. It was only the beginning. I'm calling you deeper."

All I can come back to through it all is:
God. Is. Good.
And not only is he good, but he's a Good, Good Father.

PS - Chris Tomlin, if you happen to be reading this, I'm sorry. I'm sorry I gave your song the cold shoulder the first {several} times. It's 'cause I didn't get it before.  But I get it now. And it's my anthem song. And I pray every single human being will get to experience His goodness in such a way that your song captures their spirit too. Can we still be friends?