Written by Rachel Denison

There comes a time in life when you are forced to wrestle with certain questions. They are typically questions you’ve always had in the back of your mind, but were never forced to come to terms with them. The times that force you into this place are unwelcome and never easy—hardship, tragedy, heartbreak, loss. I have recently been forced into one of those times. I didn’t go willingly, I was pushed. I was taken from. And sometimes in this world, things are taken away.

This blog isn’t to explicitly explain my situation in detail, but encourage myself and others who are walking through a hard time to simply keep going. The questions I have been faced with in the past month are natural in the midst of grief and struggle. They aren’t pretty or sugarcoated. They are raw and come from a place of pain. They start with who, what, when, where and why?

Whose fault is this? Who can I blame?

What is going on? What is going to happen?

When is everything going to hurt less? When can I just be done with this pain?

Where were you?

And my personal favorite—

Why? Why would you allow me to go through this?

I seem to wake up with these same questions resounding in my mind every morning, no matter how many evenings I finally come to the right conclusions. God keeps tenderly speaking to me, “Keep trying,” which I have taken to mean keep trying to find me in the midst of this, keep trying to open your heart to me, keep trying to let me in. I have been astounded at how he has met me in the midst of my pain. I have been shocked at how he’s unoffended by my questions and anger. I am shocked at how he has never gone anywhere—he has always been right here with me.

To be candid, my constant question has been—is God good? I know we all hear it all the time… I know the right Sunday school answer. But until I come to a place in the midst of the fire, in the midst of the flood, in the midst of the pit, where I can still say with a resounding yes, “God is GOOD,” I am not done. And I will keep trying. This journey has been fruitful, and he’s helping me get there each day—and all I can do is get there one day at a time. There is such hope for us.

To all of you out there in the midst of pain and tragedy, I want to encourage you to keep processing and not to give up. God really is SO good, and he is so present with us in these times. When you feel the world crashing in around you, take a moment to reach for him. Internally quiet your soul and simply say his name. I can feel him even now. And for that I am forever grateful. Keep your head up, and keep trying. We have a God who knows affliction well.

“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” –Psalm 34:18

“He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.” –Isaiah 53:3-4

“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.” –Isaiah 43:1-3

P.S. This worship song has been super helpful to lead me into his presence in this time.