When all is good
“How are you?” – how often have you heard or even said it yourself in the last 7 days?
Where I come from we don’t usually ask someone how they are and if we do, we are prepared to have a deep conversation. In the Australian culture you hear this question a lot and generally people don’t want to know the full story – unless of course you are good friends with the cashier at your local supermarket and you feel comfortable talking about your personal struggles over the counter. I was actually taught at school “how are you?” is just a phrase, a ritual that you are expected to answer with a casual “Good. How are you?”. But of course there are times when it is meant as a genuine question.
Every Wednesday I meet with my small group. First we have dinner, then bible study and later someone shares from their own life. The question “How are you?” is no longer a thoughtless phrase but a sincere interest in the other person’s wellbeing. People struggle with stress at work, uni exams, family issues, financial problems, all those things are real and they affect us.
A little while ago it was my turn to share and I indeed was good. I still am. Somehow it even felt wrong, that I didn’t have anything ‘dramatic’ to tell like everyone else; almost as if I wasn’t being honest. Obviously there are a few areas in my life that I would like to change but generally speaking I am happy.
You know that feeling when someone asks: “Can you think of one thing that keeps you awake at night and makes you worry about the future?” and instantly you go: “Yes! I know exactly what you mean! As a matter of fact I’m going through a hard time right now!”
Well, I don’t. I’m fine. I am actually really good. So what is wrong with me? Whenever someone asks me an honest “How are you?” I can’t tell them what they could be praying for. There’s nothing sad happening in my life right now.
Naturally, being a rather reflective person, I started asking questions: Maybe I haven’t been praying enough and God just hasn’t had an opportunity to show me in which areas I urgently need prayer? – Sure, I have a lot to learn but I’m actually spending more time in prayer than I used to.
Or maybe something bad is about to happen and I should enjoy the moment while it still lasts? – That’s just an awful thought to have.
I was making not having big problems my problem, because everyone else has them and I don’t, when I should be thanking God for blessing me this much.
So yes, I am good. In fact I am great! When I stroll through the park and see hundreds of the most colourful birds sitting in the silver gum trees I can’t help but be amazed by how beautiful God’s creation is. All those new friends that I have made over the last 4 months are very dear to me already. Not only did God call me to the country that has been on my heart for many years, I am also working with wonderful people to help transforming lives and communities all around the world! I could go on and on about how thankful I am for the place I get to be in right now.
They say love songs only make sense when you are actually in love – well for me (many of) the Psalms make a lot more sense because I am so grateful!
Psalm 33 NIV
Sing joyfully to the LORD, you righteous; it is fitting for the upright to praise him. Praise the LORD with the harp; make music to him on the ten-stringed lyre. Sing to him a new song; play skillfully, and shout for joy. For the word of the LORD is right and true; he is faithful in all he does. The LORD loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of his unfailing love. By the word of the LORD were the heavens made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth. He gathers the waters of the sea into jars; he puts the deep into storehouses. Let all the earth fear the LORD; let all the people of the world revere him. For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm. The LORD foils the plans of the nations; he thwarts the purposes of the peoples. But the plans of the LORD stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations. Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people he chose for his inheritance. From heaven the LORD looks down and sees all mankind; from his dwelling place he watches all who live on earth– he who forms the hearts of all, who considers everything they do. No king is saved by the size of his army; no warrior escapes by his great strength. A horse is a vain hope for deliverance; despite all its great strength it cannot save. But the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love, to deliver them from death and keep them alive in famine. We wait in hope for the LORD; he is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. May your unfailing love rest upon us, O LORD, even as we put our hope in you.
By Ulrike Rossrucker – aka Ulli Dooley