God is good—all the time. All the time—God is good.
I’ll be honest, this phrase generally sounds a little rote and, well, hokey, to me, especially when it’s proceeding from the mouth of someone not particularly touched by suffering in that moment.
But when a suffering woman says it, over and over, during cancer treatment, after one negative prognosis after another, when she’s been diagnosed with yet-another life-threatening disease that renders her unable to breathe on her own, and then, then, as she sinks closer and closer to death…
When THAT woman keeps saying the phrase—it’s incredible.
And it makes me believe even more strongly in the God Elizabeth Brown Bogart served because she would not have been able to say it again and again this past year and even as her heart beat its last slow thumps, if it wasn’t true.
He is Good—
All the suffering, loving, hoping, despairing, mourning, dying time.
I haven’t seen Liz since high school, but we were Facebook friends, and when I learned of her cancer diagnosis a year ago, I subscribed to receive her Caring Bridge updates. She was older and wiser but the same true Liz I’d known nearly thirty years ago, with a wit and blunt-edged sarcasm that could discern the hilarity in nearly every situation. I cried and laughed through many of her journal posts, and I cheered for her just a little over a month ago when it seemed like she would be able to enter a drug trial that would target the particularly twisted kind of cancer cell she harbored in her body. I groaned a couple weeks later when I learned her lungs and heart were failing.
And I’m mourning now, both with and for the friends and family who know her far, far better than I do.
All the stories shared on Facebook in the last 24 hours remember a spunky, sassy woman who lived and loved till she dropped—and then some. A few days ago she said something like this: I’m not sad for myself. I’ll be okay. But I am sad for all of you. Because—let’s face it—I’m pretty awesome. I laughed through my tears when I read that one.
This morning I prayed for Liz’s husband and her two small children and her family and friends and coworkers—all those people who will have a very real gap—a gaping hole—in their world, who will count the coming days, months, and even years with the phrase “since Liz died.” Then I turned on my computer and opened up Bible Gateway.
This was the verse of the day:
If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.
Liz is living in that full belonging now.
God is Good.