Is God really good?
Last week our family said good-bye to my sister-in-love and friend. Since my husband’s mother died when he was just two years old, his sisters became mother figures to him so he lost his sister, mother and friend. My sister-in-love was an aunt and a grandparent to my three girls. She will be greatly missed and I don’t have adequate words to convey the depths of the sorrowful hole she leaves in our hearts and family.
At her funeral service, there was a message touching on the themes of God being good and loving, a Good Shepherd and His promises of “Yes” and “Amen.” I know there were people in attendance who don’t put their faith in Jesus Christ so I listened to the message with their ear. How can we, as Christians, say God is good when the world is full of sorrow, loss and just plain unfairness?
My husband – being a true-to-form enneagram 1 – has pondered over and over and out loud what it all means and what we should learn from the loss. I know there is a lot to learn about loving well and being intentional but I keep reminding him (as a non-enneagram 1) now is not the time to decide for all family members to sell our homes and move onto a compound to live out the rest of our lives in close proximity. We will continue to ponder the lessons that need to be learned but…
What about the question of God’s goodness?
I put my faith in Christ as a young girl but, I must admit, the past few days I have wrestled with the goodness of God. We sing about God being good “all the time” and “He’s a good, good Father” on Sundays. I blare the songs in my car with lyrics like “All God’s promises are Yes and Amen.” But when a loss happens, again, I hit the faith barrier (which I wrote about here) and have a decision to make.
I choose to believe God is good and faithful but how do I answer those who don’t have a lifetime of leaning on God in the hard times?
Someone at the funeral who has also experienced the loss of a loved one at an early age commented how unfair it seemed. It is unfair. Very unfair. But God never promised us fairness. He promised to be with us through the unfairness of this world – in the hard times.
He is with us. He is good because He comforts us in the hard times – not just keeps them at bay. He gives us peace in the turmoil when we want to scream, “Whhhyyy?” His goodness doesn’t depend on things going our way. He isn’t a genie in the bottle and, for the record; I have yet to find one of those. I have found comfort, peace and hope when God carried me through difficult days when my prayers weren’t answered.
His Word says He will never leave us or forsake us.
The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you;
he will never leave you nor forsake you.
Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Deuteronomy 31:8
He is the Good Shepherd. When we are lost or hurting, He tenderly cares for us.
You keep track of all my sorrows.
You have collected all my tears in your bottle.
You have recorded each one in your book. Psalms 56:8
That is a pretty involved God who sees our sorrow and has compassion for us. A bottle full of our tears collected by God is very different from a magical genie in a bottle.
God’s goodness is not based on our circumstances. We are quick to blame Him for the bad things but often forget to thank Him for the good things. I know when life is chugging along just fine, I sometimes take it for granted. When the tough times hit me upside the head, it’s like I have to catch my breath and remember God is there in the good and bad times.
Are His promises really “Yes” and “Amen?”
For all of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Christ
with a resounding “Yes!” And through Christ, our “Amen”
(which means “Yes”) ascends to God for his glory. 2 Corinthians 1:20
Christ came to fulfill all of the promises of God. He is our “Yes!” and “Amen.” He is our promise when things in life are unfair, don’t make sense and threaten to rock our core belief.
A new song was recently released by Jon Egan called, “What You Say” and it has been on replay for the past several days. (You should go buy the whole album, Unveil.)
The oceans may rise over my head ~ It can’t change what you say
Though I may be found in the valley of death ~ It can’t change what you say…
You are good, and everything You do is good ~ You are kind, and everything You do is kind
You don’t fail, You haven’t and You never will ~ You are good, and everything You do is good.
God was good to comfort me and give me hope when the oceans threatened to rise and I walked in the valley of the shadow of death.
We will miss the laughter of our beloved family member but even in the chaos of the circumstance, with God’s help as we hold onto His promises, we will chuckle again.
How about you? Can you say God is good in the difficult times?