“O God, I have tasted Thy goodness, and it has both satisfied me and made me thirsty for more. I am painfully conscious of my need for further grace. I am ashamed of my lack of desire. O God, the Triune God, I want to want Thee; I long to be filled with longing; I thirst to be made more thirsty still. Show me Thy glory, I pray Thee, so that I may know Thee indeed. Begin in mercy a new work of love within me. Say to my soul, ‘Rise up my love, my fair one, and come away.’ Then give me grace to rise and follow Thee up from this misty lowland where I have wandered so long.”
― A.W. Tozer
I suppose it’s at the foundation of faith in God. It’s the essence of salvation, the breath in the lungs of belief in Jesus…. yet so easily we forget. God is good. God’s goodness is eternal, ever present, overwhelming and so very real. It’s one thing, however, to parrot “God is good (All the time ) and All the time (God is good)” back to a preacher. It’s another thing entirely to force the words out of your mouth when your life is falling to pieces around you and there is no one to blame but The One who created us.
Is God always good? Is God still good when He doesn’t do what we thought He told us He was going to do?
Is He still good when we walk out of a relationship, feeling defeated because we thought we felt his blessing in it, yet here we are, alone again?
Is He still good when the one you love most is dying, even though we thought for sure they would live? Is He good even then?
Is He good when I have so much stuff and others have no water o drink?
Is he good even as women and children are being murdered in Pakistan and airports are being bombed in Belgium?
These are some of the questions I have been asking myself lately. As my friends and I have been studying the nature of God, my curiosity has been piqued like never before. I am convinced that a right view of God will radically alter our entire life. Knowing who God is and knowing it beyond the shadow of a doubt will protect us and carry us through moments we could not have possibly endured otherwise. I am absolutely sure God is good, and I will tell you why.
The Bible is the most incredible book in the world and from its onset, it tells us of the goodness of God. In Exodus 33, we see the character of God described: “ And the Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth..” God is good, he is always good, he can’t NOT be good. He is who he is all the time, and all his actions are guided by his love for us.
Even so, I’m just writing words on a computer screen; I have not actually questioned the goodness of God in my life, or have I? Some people assume I have not seen hard times because I try to remain sunny and positive, but I have been so very guilty of wringing my hands and looking heavenward and saying “GOD! Why?? Where are you and how could this possibly be OK with you, much less your WILL??”
It is in these moments I would encourage us to look at Job. Prime Christian man. Favored. Wealthy. Obedient to God–and bam–everything is taken from him and for the love of all things, God ALLOWS it. He doesn’t sweep in when Job loses everything and say, “Sorry buddy, I didn’t mean to let you scratch your knee. Let me readjust your crown.” When Job is going through what we would call a clinical depression, God doesn’t zap him with a good mood instantly.
No. God allows Job to walk through hell on earth, and I believe it was so Job could truly see the goodness of God. At the very end of the book, In his thunderous and beautiful voice, the Lord responds to everything Job and his friends have been saying for the past several chapters, and he slices through every wrong perception Job ever had of the Living God in an instant. Are you ready for this? It might change your life or make you cry or make you think, my goodness, I’ve been missing the point this whole time.
Then the Lord spoke to Job out of the storm. He said:
2 “Who is this that obscures my plans
with words without knowledge?
3 Brace yourself like a man;
I will question you,
and you shall answer me.
4 “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?
Tell me, if you understand.
5 Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!
Who stretched a measuring line across it?
6 On what were its footings set,
or who laid its cornerstone—
7 while the morning stars sang together
and all the angels shouted for joy?
8 “Who shut up the sea behind doors
when it burst forth from the womb,
9 when I made the clouds its garment
and wrapped it in thick darkness,
10 when I fixed limits for it
and set its doors and bars in place,
11 when I said, ‘This far you may come and no farther;
here is where your proud waves halt’?
12 “Have you ever given orders to the morning,
or shown the dawn its place,
13 that it might take the earth by the edges
and shake the wicked out of it?
The earth takes shape like clay under a seal;
its features stand out like those of a garment.
15 The wicked are denied their light,
and their upraised arm is broken.
16 “Have you journeyed to the springs of the sea
or walked in the recesses of the deep?
17 Have the gates of death been shown to you?
Have you seen the gates of the deepest darkness?
18 Have you comprehended the vast expanses of the earth?
Tell me, if you know all this.
19 “What is the way to the abode of light?
And where does darkness reside?
20 Can you take them to their places?
Do you know the paths to their dwellings?
21 Surely you know, for you were already born!
You have lived so many years!
22 “Have you entered the storehouses of the snow
or seen the storehouses of the hail,
23 which I reserve for times of trouble,
for days of war and battle?
What is the way to the place where the lightning is dispersed,
or the place where the east winds are scattered over the earth?
25 Who cuts a channel for the torrents of rain,
and a path for the thunderstorm,
26 to water a land where no one lives,
an uninhabited desert,
27 to satisfy a desolate wasteland
and make it sprout with grass?
28 Does the rain have a father?
Who fathers the drops of dew?
29 From whose womb comes the ice?
Who gives birth to the frost from the heavens
30 when the waters become hard as stone,
when the surface of the deep is frozen?
31 “Can you bind the chains of the Pleiades?
Can you loosen Orion’s belt?
32 Can you bring forth the constellations in their seasons
or lead out the Bear with its cubs?
33 Do you know the laws of the heavens?
Can you set up God’s dominion over the earth?
34 “Can you raise your voice to the clouds
and cover yourself with a flood of water?
35 Do you send the lightning bolts on their way?
Do they report to you, ‘Here we are’?
36 Who gives the ibis wisdom
or gives the rooster understanding?
37 Who has the wisdom to count the clouds?
Who can tip over the water jars of the heavens
38 when the dust becomes hard
and the clods of earth stick together?
39 “Do you hunt the prey for the lioness
and satisfy the hunger of the lions
40 when they crouch in their dens
or lie in wait in a thicket?
41 Who provides food for the raven
when its young cry out to God
and wander about for lack of food?
If you read that in its entirety and would still like an explanation, here it is. Who are we to second guess the one created the stars and the ocean and the one fathers the rain and stores the snow? We are so infinitely blessed to be children of God and still we question him. God is the creator of all and the lover of our souls and believe it or not he is a lot smarter than we are. His ways are higher than our ways and his plans are so much more intricate and far reaching than our momentary afflictions. I don’t know why people die before we thought they should. But I know God is good and although he doesn’t punish us with lines and car accidents, he may allow things to happen for his ultimate glory. Really, who are we to question him?
I don’t know why prophecies end up being wrong or why we hear God wrong and end up in heaps of trouble. I don’t know why beautiful relationships end or why seemingly perfect ones never begin. But, friends, I know God is good, and he makes all things work together for the good. I don’t know how, but I KNOW he does. (this is faith.) And the best part is he doesn’t even have to. We are so little, yet he cares for us.
Even when we are completely lawless and horrible, he is always trying to win our hearts.
The Lord looked and was displeased
that there was no justice.
16 He saw that there was no one,
he was appalled that there was no one to intervene;
so his own arm achieved salvation for him,
and his own righteousness sustained him.
17 He put on righteousness as his breastplate,
and the helmet of salvation on his head;
he put on the garments of vengeance
and wrapped himself in zeal as in a cloak.
18 According to what they have done,
so will he repay
wrath to his enemies
and retribution to his foes;
he will repay the islands their due.
19 From the west, people will fear the name of the Lord,
and from the rising of the sun, they will revere his glory.
For he will come like a pent-up flood
that the breath of the Lord drives along.
20 “The Redeemer will come to Zion,
to those in Jacob who repent of their sins,”
Declares the Lord.
When ISIS runs rampant and innocent lives are taken by evil men, EVEN THEN, ESPECIALLY THEN, God is looking for ways to be gracious and draw him to us.
We don’t have to understand why all the time. I think growing up charismatic made me believe I could almost control God, and you know, prophecy and all that is great, but Paul said prophecies will cease and the only thing left will be the immense, incomprehensible love of God. I don’t care what God does anymore. I know it will be for good, because that’s who he is. I know his nature–even though I have only scratched the surface of the top layer of probably billions of layers. I know in my little beating heart in Thomasville, GA, that My God is good. He is alive, He is the Lion of Judah, the First and the Last, the Good Shepherd and the Lover of our Souls who loves us with a jealous, unyielding love. I don’t have to micromanage the activities of the earth when I know the King of Heaven.
He is good. Whether things go my way or not. Let the scales of religion and performance fall from you like they did from Eustace in Narnia, and let yourself see him for who he is.
Then Job replied to the Lord:
2 “I know that you can do all things;
no purpose of yours can be thwarted.
3 You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?’
Surely I spoke of things I did not understand,
things too wonderful for me to know.
4 “You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak;
I will question you,
and you shall answer me.’
5 My ears had heard of you
but now my eyes have seen you.
6 Therefore I despise myself
and repent in dust and ashes.”
And I’ll let you open your own bible to se how the story of Job ends. 🙂
So, to answer the question, yes, a thousands times yes. God is always good. If nothing ever goes the way you think it should again, He is still good. Amen.
Revelation 22: The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say, “Come!” Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.