Before our class last Tuesday night, I noticed Ronnie was limping around. I hadn't seen him in a while and asked him what was going on. He told me that because he'd been favoring his big toe he had thrown his leg out of whack.
After class, Sherrel and I hung around for a while talking to the men. As I headed out to our car I thought briefly—very briefly—about praying for Ronnie's foot. But then I thought, “Nah,” and started down the stairs. For a moment I was in a tug‐of‐war, but I quickly turned back and asked him if I could pray for his foot.
I asked him about the condition, and he told me his toe was stiff and painful. I laid my hand on his shoe and listened for the Lord to give me something to say. After praying, I asked him if his toe was any better, and by how much (what percentage). He didn't say anything, but just had a kind of startled look on his face as he took off his shoe and sock. He removed some kind of a heat/cold pack from his toes and then curled his toes under as if he was going to pick up something with his foot. He told me he hadn't been able to do that for a long time.
We thanked God for healing him. I talked with him briefly about some follow‐up spiritual care for his foot. And Sherrel and I headed home.
At the following Thursday night class I asked if anybody had a testimony to share. Ronnie told the group of men that his big toe had calcified and had been stiff for twenty years, but on Tuesday night God had healed him (including the limp).
As he shared a few more details, my own eyes got big. On Tuesday night, I had seen him clinch his toe with a full range of motion, but I didn't know he hadn't been able to do that for twenty years!
This is a perfect example of a display of God's goodness that almost didn't happen. I stayed and prayed for Ronnie, but I could have just as easily gone home without praying for him. I did not get a strong direction from God one way or the other. There was no writing on the wall; there was no booming voice in my ear. I stayed because, as I looked back at Ronnie limping, I decided it was more important to help him than to get home a few minutes earlier.
When I made that decision I automatically stepped back into God's presence. I stepped into the “zone of goodness” I mentioned yesterday—that place where there are resources not available anywhere else.
You will show me the path of life; In Your presence [is] fullness of joy; At Your right hand [are] pleasures forevermore. (Psalm 16:11 NKJV)
And goodness comes from God's presence. I was able to see a big toe that had been stiff for twenty years yield to the power of the Holy Spirit and bend right before my eyes.
Granted, raising someone from the dead would have been more spectacular. But then… Ronnie didn't need to be raised from the dead. He needed his toe fixed. And the very same power that raised Jesus from the dead, fixed a frozen toe—and is available to fix anything else (see Ephesians 1:16–23).
I share this testimony with you because it is a sobering reminder of how easy it is to miss the goodness of God. I could have very easily missed out on an opportunity to help God with a healing, and Ronnie could still be walking around with a messed‐up toe.
We do not usually see a light show in the sky accompanied by a thundering voice from Heaven saying, “My child, come into My presence and I will do a great and mighty work through you!” No… it's not like that at all. Why should He have to make a big show out of getting us into His presence? We are supposed to be there already. That's where we belong. That's the place where all the good stuff happens.
I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in me—and I in him—bears much fruit, because apart from me you can accomplish nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is thrown out like a branch, and dries up; and such branches are gathered up and thrown into the fire, and are burned up. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you want, and it will be done for you. My Father is honored by this, that you bear much fruit and show that you are my disciples. (John 15:5‐8 NET)
It is easy to miss the goodness of God. If you're not looking for it you will miss it.
We're not used to having to look for goodness, because man usually (not always) splashes his goodness right in our faces. He wants to make sure his goodness gets noticed. God warns us, as believers, to not be a part of this. And He wouldn't have to warn us, unless it was in our nature to make a big fuss over our own goodness.
Watch out! Don't do your good deeds publicly, to be admired by others, for you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven. When you give to someone in need, don't do as the hypocrites do—blowing trumpets in the synagogues and streets to call attention to their acts of charity! I tell you the truth, they have received all the reward they will ever get. But when you give to someone in need, don't let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Give your gifts in private, and your Father, who sees everything, will reward you. (Matthew 6:1–4 NLT)
God however, is not showy like man. He's not out to impress us with His goodness by using some flashy display of generosity. He doesn't need to impress anyone that He is good, because He is completely and entirely good on His own.
Man makes a big production over opening a new medical facility by putting certain people's names on the sides of the buildings or on large plaques hanging in the entrance. Jesus however, died for our diseases, making it possible for us to not even need the new medical facility (see Isaiah 53).
Man celebrates, on national television, the signing of a bill that will encourage job creation. God however, gives us the power to get wealth without ever signing a bill or being on television (see Deuteronomy 8:18).
Wouldn't it be good to never flinch, no matter what comes your way? Wouldn't it be good to never be intimidated by resistance? Wouldn't it be good to welcome God's correction, rather than to avoid it?
As we've discussed over the last few days, this all starts with an understanding of just how good God really is. When we understand how good He is—when we are confident of His goodness toward us—then we can stop flinching every time something comes against us.
When we face resistance, instead of trying to avoid His so‐called goodness, we embrace His goodness. We don't try to avoid Him; we hang on to Him. When we face resistance He is our first responder.
Because we have confidence in His goodness, we start looking for Him in every situation. And when we are willing to look for His goodness, we will experience it.
Have a good weekend,