Tag Archives: serena

Stepping Into the Bigger Story

By Serena Puang, DC ’22. Serena is majoring in Linguistics.

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about the goodness of God and faith. I think growing up in church, it was always assumed that we knew and believed in the fundamental goodness of God. We sang hymns about it and repeated it to each other so often that sometimes, I’ll admit, it became kind of like a joke: someone would share an annoyance from their week and punctuate it with “but God is good…all the time”. 

But what does it mean to really believe that God is good especially when your circumstances aren’t? I’ve struggled a lot in previous years with mental health problems, and as a youth counselor and even as a friend, I’ve encountered so many people who have asked me or even begged me to help them understand why a loving God would let them go through this

I don’t have all the answers. While I’ve experienced radical healing by the grace of God, I don’t know why other people don’t always experience the same healing when they come to Him. I don’t know why God blesses some people more than others. I have no idea why some people are born into loving and supportive families while others aren’t. These are questions I wrestle with often, but maybe they aren’t the most pressing ones. At the end of the day, I have no control over these things, and based on my limited life experience, that’s probably a good thing. So the real question is how we should move forward. 

According to Hebrews 11:1, faith is “the confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” It might seem childlike and anti-intellectual to believe in this way.  As someone who likes approximately zero uncertainty in her life, I can attest that this is very difficult, but God doesn’t call us to blindly follow him with no evidence of his provision/goodness. He’s given us his word which not only points us to the ultimate assurance of his love for us, Jesus’ death on the cross, but also gives us story after story of regular people who had to step out in faith even when it didn’t make sense. He called Abraham to move away from everything and everyone he knew at the ripe old age of 75 (Genesis 12); he brought David into the wilderness when he was one step away from the throne (1 Samuel 19), and he brought Philip away from his ministry in Samaria to speak to the Ethiopian (Acts 8).

In their lives, and in many more, God calls people to walk with him and join into the bigger story he’s telling with humanity, and each time they step out in faith, God provides and shows them that he is worthy of that trust which in turns strengthens their faith. On that foundation, I’ve found myself stepping out in faith in little ways and then bigger ways because each time I do, I become more and more convinced of the fundamental goodness of God.

In the last 20 years, God has never let me down. That’s not to say that everything has been smooth, but I’ve watched as God has thwarted my little plans and invited me to a bigger one, and I can say with confidence that his way was better than I could have imagined. I need constant reminders of that truth. I think faith is daring to hope expectantly that God is good in this instance too, even when you can’t see it and then acting accordingly, and since God is good, he’s faithful to meet us there. 

 

Logos Listens: Flood Waters, Josh Garrels

by Serena Riddle

Over winter break I had the chance to ask a member of a national disaster recovery team what he believed was the hardest disaster do deal with – his unhesitating reply was “floods”. This folksy melody by Josh Garrels inhales the terror and wreckage of something so destructively overpowering and exhales peace – peace, not from ignorance of the things that threaten to overcome us but from the assurance of something much, much stronger.

The contentment reflected in the tune is proclaimed in the chorus, where the love of God is pointed to as the ever-enduring source of rescue, undying and “more fierce than graves”, sustained by the God who lasts “past the time of the longest bloodline”. Not only in our studies, but in the trials of life that sweep us off our feet and feel like they’re pulling us under, this song is a heartfelt reminder of the Father who gathers us under his wings and is a “refuge for us” (Psalm 62:8). Not even something as strong as death is more than what our God can bring us through. In the spirit of this song I hope that this love, which is something we are invited live in throughout our busy days, will be continually recognized by our hearts for the way it truly does win no matter what the opposition may be.

 

Flood Waters (Josh Garrels)

from Love & War & the Sea in Between

[Lyrics]


Higher than the yonder mountain and deeper than the sea
From the breadth of the east unto the west
Is the love that started with a seed

Stronger than the wildest horses and the rising tide
The chords of death hung so heavy round our necks
Will be left at the great divide

Flood waters rise, but it won’t wash away
Love never dies, it will hold on more fierce than graves

Farther than the pale moon rises upon the open plains
Past the time of the longest bloodline
There shines an immortal flame

Somewhere in between forever and this passing day
There’s a place moth and rust cannot lay waste
This is grace, the face of love

Flood waters rise, but it won’t wash away
Love never dies, it will hold on more fierce than graves