How to Anticipate More of God’s Goodness

By Joel Povolni

There is nothing my OB-GYN nurse practitioner could have said that would have surprised me more than the words she spoke on May 3rd, 2023. “Joèl, did you read your biopsy results? You have Ductal Carcinoma in situ breast cancer.”

What?!

You can imagine how these words came as a complete shock. Almost sounds like a foreign language needing to be deciphered.

A few days earlier, I had a biopsy to make sure nothing was wrong. My heart was full of so much peace it felt tangible. I knew everything would come back benign and clear. My faith was high. God was on my side, so what did I have to fear? Right?

Fast forward to the following Wednesday when the phone call came in the middle of a workday. I found myself unable to process what I heard fully.

After I got off the phone, I thought I was going to be fine, until I tried to read over my notes for a meeting I was to lead that afternoon. I read the same sentences repeatedly, but my brain was only focusing on one concept: I have cancer?

I texted my husband asking if he could pick me up. As he drove the both of us home, my emotions and tears all came tumbling out intertwined with shock and disbelief as I navigated through these unchartered waters.

You and I are not called to deny or ignore our feelings and the circumstances we face.

It’s good to be fully aware of what’s happening, even on the days we’d rather climb back into bed and pretend we don’t know what we know. If we walk in denial, we cannot process life well or discover, all over again, how to lean on God.

But, it’s also wise to not just be aware of what we’re experiencing but to be “awake” to what God is speaking over our lives through His Word and by His Spirit. This is where we find hope!!

“The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God, and he sustains everything by the mighty power of his command.” Hebrews 1:3 (NLT)

I am so thankful that my life and yours are sustained by God’s mighty power and that our future isn’t determined by our circumstances, but by our Heavenly Father, who gives His children good gifts (James 1:17). Problems fall in our laps left and right, but we have to fight for joy! This comes by knowing God’s character and trusting He has good in store for us, even when life deals us a hard blow. I believe God is calling his children to contend for our peace and to anticipate more of God’s goodness in our lives.

When a diagnosis comes; or a decision is not in our favor, or someone disappoints us; it’s in that place of tension that God is calling you and me to a place of vulnerability. To come to him with all of our messy emotions so that He can speak words of “LIFE” to our hearts. His promises in scripture can become the words we agree with instead of “the facts” of our situation, people’s opinions, or the voice of fear.

The words we agree with determine what we anticipate.

If God could give me His undeniable peace in advance, knowing I would receive news that I didn’t expect to hear, then couldn’t I trust Him with my today and my tomorrow? His peace that passes all understanding became my springboard to walk, both brave and scared, by faith and trust in God along this bumpy path expecting His goodness!

Maybe you have never received a diagnosis you didn’t expect, but you are unsure about what this year may bring. I invite you to join me in complete transparency with God. He understands our hearts because he made them (Psalms 33:13-15 NLT) and He desires more than anything to walk in intimacy with you and me.

He wants to hear our fears and our feelings and then speak words of truth to our hearts. May we be faster to agree with every word that God is speaking over us, as we hear them come forth, and then follow His leading!

The diagnosis I received wasn’t an “ending,” but it was a new beginning of sorts. An invitation to pay attention to the “nudging and knowings” of the Holy Spirit, and go on a new health journey with Him of learning and implementing. God fully expects us to adjust our behavior as He teaches his sons and daughters new ways of living. Be willing to partner with God in the natural while trusting him to perform the supernatural. This removes the weight from your shoulders to His!

May we “taste and see that the Lord is good” and anticipate more of His goodness and blessings as we take refuge in him (Psalms 34:8). This is a recipe you and I can follow to experience true joy in the middle of uncertain times. “We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the Champion who initiates and perfects our faith.” Hebrews 12:2 (NLT).

April 1, 2024