Photo Caption: The character of God is good. And God cannot change: his plans are always good, his ways are always good, his gifts and withholdings are always for our good. I can say it, I can type it, and yet I am continually pressing in so that I might really believe it. "lord i believe, help me in my unbelief". I sometimes unknowingly wince when I hear people say "God has a plan for you. He's going to bring X into your life, he's going to change your circumstance, etc", whatever X may be at the moment. I've been in a place the past few days where I needed this quote from a letter by John Newton so much. God cannot change who he is; if he works for the good of those who love him, I must believe that everything that happens and the things I see as missing from my life are for good. And so maybe he will bring X in my life-- and maybe he won't. The wrenching sadness and pain I've felt are for my good in ways that I can and can't see. The loneliness and feeling like something is being withheld from me is for my good as well. Both give me the opportunity to become more like Christ in every way, and that is G O O D. I'm learning, bit by bit, what joy in all circumstances looks like. It isn't a feeling or a fleeting moment; it is the truth that God's good, pleasing and perfect will is redeeming us. And if God can redeem someone like me, I can rejoice knowing that his good is always near, even when I can't see the good.