by Nan Corbitte Allen
For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:9 NASB
I’m a whistler. I admit it.
But I come by it honestly. My dad was a whistler, too. In fact, the family could locate him in the house or in the yard just by following the sound. Maybe he’d be rendering a Southern Gospel tune, a hymn, or a ‘40s classic, but we always knew what was in his heart by what song came from his lips.
Maybe it’s genetic, because I often find myself whistling from my own mental repertoire, which is quite varied: from “Auld Lang Syne”, to my high school fight song, or to something we sang at church last Sunday.
Recently, after many decades of surrendering to this habit, I decided to actually analyze my playlist, making notes and tracing the tune from whence it came. Sometimes it’s produced from a line in a movie or TV show that I’ve just watched. The “Theme from Jurassic Park” or “Darth Vader’s Theme” are personal favorites. So is “Gone Fishin’,” the theme song from The Andy Griffith Show. But for sure, somewhere in my the top five is the old chorus “God Is So Good.”
You’ve heard the saying, “God is good—all the time and all the time—God is good.” While I whistle this often, seeing the effects of evil on this world can make me question His goodness. If it was true, how could there be so many that are hungry, oppressed, or dying?
In Dr. James Dobson’s book When God Doesn’t Make Sense, one his first points is that God isn’t obliged to explain Himself or His ways to us. In fact, Dobson writes that God chooses to hide Himself from us—for reasons we cannot know. The word why falls often from our lips, and yet God does not reveal some answers no matter how fervently we beg.
Isaiah reminds us that God’s thoughts are not our thoughts, or His ways our ways. He knows we can’t possibly comprehend the grand design of life; only bits and pieces, and small ones at that. I believe that the jigsaw puzzle picture won’t come clear on this side of eternity. I don’t like to admit that. I want to see His plan more clearly, especially when I see human suffering and mortality. Sometimes it feels as though God has lost control or, worse, has abandoned me.
In the biblical account of Job, God attempts to explain why bad things happen to good people. But even that story puzzles me. The only takeaways I have to that story are Job’s takeaways from his experience. “The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21 NJKV). “For I know that my Redeemer lives, and He shall stand at last on the earth; and after my skin is destroyed, this I know, that in my flesh I shall see God…” (Job 19:24-26 NJKV, emphasis added).
While he began the story as a man of commendable faith, through His struggles, Job learned something of God he had not fully understood before: “I know that You can do all things, and that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted….Therefore I have declared that which I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know” (Job 42:2-3 NASB).
While there is evil in the world, and hard things we will never understand, God will use it all to reveal Himself to us as we struggle.
So, when anyone asks me, “How’s life?” I say, “Life is life, but God is good.” I have to believe that or NOTHING makes sense. And I’ll whistle my tunes, especially the one favoring this simple message about God’s goodness.
P.S. If my sons pick up this habit, does that make me Whistler’s Mother?
About the author: Nan Corbitt Allen has written over 100 published dramatic musicals, sketchbooks, and collections in collaboration with Dennis Allen, her husband of 40 years. A three-time Dove Award winner, Nan’s lyrics and dramas have been performed around the world. Dennis and Nan have sold almost 3 million choral books.
Nan and Dennis live in Cleveland, GA where she teaches English and Creative Writing at Truett McConnell University. They have two grown sons and two beautiful grandchildren.
Nan’s book, Small Potatoes @ the Piggly Wiggly, is a collection of devotionals that reveal the seemingly insignificant routine experiences can have great impact on a life. She describes what she learned of God’s providence and wisdom while growing up in the Deep South in the 1950’s and 60’s.
Join the conversation: What has God revealed to you about Himself lately?