Goodness. It’s this elusive thing we crave. We know what it looks like but can’t fully describe it. We know when we hunger for it but can’t seem to clutch onto it and make it stay. We want to bottle it up, store it tight and save it for a desperate day. But we can’t.
Goodness slips into our days and surprises us in the most unexpected ways. Like familiar arms slipping round our waste as we do the dishes. Or sometimes—occasionally—like a flurry of activity at the back door when our kid sneaks home from college for an unexpected weekend.
But sometimes we just can’t seem to see it. We get so focused on the darkness of our present, that we don’t feel the tinge of goodness tugging at our hand or notice it slipping into our over-scheduled day.
So how do we not miss it, especially when life is hard? We hunt for it. On dark days and desperate nights, we may have to hunt and peck and dig to find it.
We may have to remind ourselves over and over again that God is good. And as we do, we start to see his affirmation that it’s true. A smile on a stranger’s face. A word spoken just right. A ring of laughter.
As we hunt for goodness, we uncover the unexpected—we ourselves are being hunted. That’s what the Psalmist said after traversing the darkest valley. God guided his every step and brought him to the other side.
There the goodness flooded in. He found himself feasting in front of his enemies, fragrant oil rolling down his head. His cup so full he couldn’t contain it. He concluded, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever” (Psalm 23:6).
How could he say that? He realized that all the while—though he may have been hunting for goodness in the dark—it was really hunting him. God was hunting him.
The Hebrew word picture gets lost in our translation. When he says “goodness and mercy shall follow me,” he’s really describing an intentional pursuit. Goodness ran after him. It chased him down. It followed in the darkness. And it flooded in when he made it to the other side.
Isn’t that the way God works? He may take us through the valley. He may lead us into the dark. But he doesn’t leave us there.
The darkness breaks. The struggle lessens. The sorrow quiets. And then we see what we could only slightly make out in the midst of our pain. God is who he says he is. He does what he promises. And now, he restores.
If you find yourself in a dark and desperate season, hunt for goodness. As you do, you’ll slowly discover it has been hunting you all along.