But for me it is good to be near God;
I have made the Lord GOD my refuge,
that I may tell of all your works.
(Psalm 73:28)

Today I failed to make being near God a priority.  In fact, I was put in my place by a local friend, who reminded me that God is still good, even when my day is not.

Today I found out that I owe a LOT of money to the electric company. I knew that I did, but it was still a shock to see it on paper.  Now add to that the fact that I’m not sure if I actually owe THAT much, but that maybe I’m being taken advantage of (not uncommon here, and not hard given my language ability).  My language helper went with me to help navigate the technical words that I don’t know yet, and everything was going smoothly (as smoothly as it could go).

Then we went to the çarşı (think open air walmart/flea market), and as I was trying to park in the extremely congested streets, I swiped against the front of another car.  This was not my most fun experience in Central Asia.  But then, as I stop and get out to look at the damage, a heard of people cme out of their shops to point out my mishap to me.  Yes, thank you, I see. Yes, you too, 20th person, thank you for pointing to the same spot the other guy did two seconds before you.  You all are sooooooo helpful.

Urrrrgh.

I was obviously not in a good state of mind as we were driving home, and my language helper turned to me and said, “Benjamin, Allah daha iyidir.” This translates as, “God is still good,” or maybe even “God is better.” I needed to hear that.

God is still good, AND He is better.  Better than my bad day and better than my failed language attempts, but more than that, He is better than what would be if I had spoken perfect sentences and not swiped the car.  He is better than the best that could happen here.

I don’t know if my friend meant to mean what I took from it, but I needed the reminder that God’s nearness is my good.  Not my days, not my successes, but He alone is good. He is my refuge. And it is when I have this truth in mind that I can then turn to my friends and say,

Though the fig tree should not blossom,
nor fruit be on the vines,
the produce of the olive fail
and the fields yield no food,
the flock be cut off from the fold
and there be no herd in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the LORD;
I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
GOD, the Lord, is my strength;
(Habakkuk 3:17-19a)