if God is good, why is it sometimes hard to really enjoy Him?

Trillia Newbell looks for how God is at work. She writes about the truths of who God is and how he loves us, while also leaning in on the difficult aspects of life and faith as well. She knows what it is to be “sorrowful, yet always rejoicing” in this broken world…holding fast to the unshakable, joy-inspiring work of Christ. In her new book, Enjoy, Trillia writes about delighting in the daily gifts of God to his children, which ultimately point us to the Giver. It’s a grace to welcome Trillia to the farm’s front porch today…

guest post by Trillia Newbell

The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.

But what if you are in a dark season of the soul?

Last year I had such a season and for the first time in my life it was terribly hard for me to sense God’s presence and, frankly, enjoy Him.

For the first time, I joined the Psalmist’s cry in Psalm 42; my tears were my food day and night and all the day long, they said to me, “Where is your God?”

What I came to learn during that time was that God wasn’t hiding from me.

He was there.

Maybe that’s you.

Maybe you are in a similar season and wondering where is your God.

Delighting ourselves in God’s good gifts is an important task for the Christian.

As we pursue and involve ourselves in the enjoyment of relationships, food, nature, and all the other wonderful gifts God has given us, you and I can learn how to enjoy God, acknowledging Him as the Giver of all good things.

This has to be a deliberate choice because we tend toward an attitude of consumerism in which we just take what’s been made available to us.

But when we pause and learn to delight in these areas, we also learn to delight in God and give proper thanks and admiration.

We can worship God while preparing a meal, riding a bike, or listening to a symphony.

We delight and give thanks not solely because He gives good gifts but also because He is God.

Over the past fifteen years, I would easily have claimed to have always enjoyed God to one degree or another. The thought of struggling to be glad in God—to find contentment in knowing Him and His goodness and rejoicing in that—was really foreign to me.

Have I always rejoiced in suffering or difficult circumstances perfectly? No. But more times than not, I would have been able to fight through to faith.

This particular season, however, was the first time I struggled to do so.

Thanksgiving and Christmas were just around the corner, and I knew this season would be a time of both rejoicing and sorrows. My husband and I had experienced losses in our family—both of our older siblings had passed away. The holidays seemed uniquely grim to me this year.

I wasn’t looking forward to all the rejoicing that I knew would be going on around me, but more than that, I was struggling to remember God’s character.

If God is good, why do so many hard things happen?

I could tell you all the theological answers. But I needed more than words—even the good gift of God’s Word.

I needed the gift of faith that would come only from the Giver of good gifts—God Himself.

I prayed like never before and doubted like never before.

One of the things I kept remembering was that God says He will finish the good work He began in me.

If God’s Word is true, then regardless of how much I doubt, He’s not going to leave me there.

As always, the Lord proved faithful.

After several months of lamenting, which felt like a decade, the Lord brought me out of that dark season and gave me fresh faith.

Why am I sharing this with you? Because I know the idea of finding joy in God and delighting in Him might seem difficult at times, maybe even most times.

Your circumstances or feelings may be clouding the truth of God’s Word. You may not sense His nearness. I understand.

There were moments when I wasn’t even sure I was a Christian. But then the Lord would cause me to fall on my knees yet again in prayer, crying out to Him—reconfirming to me that He has me in the palm of His hand.

I’m His daughter, and He will never let me go.

Sometimes God lets us come to the end of ourselves — in order for us to enjoy more of Him.

That makes sense to me.

When there’s nowhere else to run, we can run to our Savior.

As we look to what it means to enjoy God, we are, in many ways, also losing ourselves.

We gain something far greater when we are most concerned and obsessed with the One we’ll be concerned and obsessed with for all eternity.

 


Trillia Newbell is the author of Enjoy: Finding the Freedom to Delight Daily in God’s Good Gifts, Fear and Faith: Finding the Peace Your Heart Craves and United: Captured by God’s Vision for Diversity. She is currently Director of Community Outreach for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission for the Southern Baptist Convention. 

How often do we miss or minimize the good gifts of God that we’re given each day? Do we even feel the freedom to delight in those gifts?

In Enjoy, Trillia shares about how we can delight in these awe-inspiring gifts of God, growing in our gratitude, love and devotion for our good and loving Heavenly Father.

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