God is good.
God is good all the time.
- A baby is pulled from the rubble after an earthquake. God is good.
- A person is healed from cancer. God is good.
- A man and wife patch up their differences and rebuild their marriage. God is good.
- A couple adopts two little siblings. God is good.
- A young woman is rescued from trafficking. God is good.
- A soul is saved from his sins. God is good.
And, when things go badly?
God is still good.
- Babies die under rubble. God is good.
- The cancer patient passes away. God is good.
- The marriage fails. God is good.
- The children end up in different foster homes. God is good.
- The young woman is a sex slave. God is good.
- That soul rejects Christ. God is good.
It's harder to see God as good when things go extremely badly.
This is when an accurate picture of God is so important.
Back when I was a teen, my innacurate knowledge of God led me to believe that, if I were to surrender completely to God's will, He might make me go somewhere I wouldn't like. I would have to suffer. I would have a miserable life. I might even end up a martyr.
This is why I wasn't getting a straight picture:
- Hebrews 11 outlines the heroes of the faith. Many, especially those in verses 32-40 were martyrs.
- I read lots of missionary biographies. Hudson Taylor, Adiniram Judson, and many more lost children to the mission field. Jim Elliot, Nate Saint, and the other three men were martyred in Ecuador. John and Betty Stam were beheaded. William Carey was persecuted, and his wife went crazy. Even though I did read some happy outcomes, many of the men and women who served God sacrificed their lives.
- I was ignorant of the fact that the only happiness in life comes from following the Lord's will, because He always wants the best for us. I didn't understand how intimately He understands His children and their frailties. I really didn't see how God tailor-makes each person for a specific plan. And, I also forgot the passage about God choosing the weak things of the world (1 Corinthians 1:26-29).
So, at the age of seventeen, when I finally surrendered 100% to God, I gave up my will for His. But I did it without understanding.
This is what I've learned since:
- Every servant of God will suffer persecution. Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution (2 Timothy 3:12).
- God understands both our strengths and weaknesses. Like as a father pitieth His children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him. For he knowth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust (Psalm 103:13-14).
- God will never lead you somewhere you'll be miserable. He really knows the desires of your heart, and He fits the person to the task. Jesus said, I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly (John 10:10b).
- When times are hard, He is there. I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee (Hebrews 13:5b)
- Only a close relationship with Jesus Christ satisfies the soul. I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for Whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung that I may win Christ, And be found in him . . . That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death (from Philippians 3:8-10).
- If it ever came to martyrdom, God's grace is there, too. How were men and women in the Roman Colosseum able to sing as the lions ran out to devour them? How could Thomas Cranmer hold his hand in the flame before his body was burned? How could John and Betty Stam leave their precious baby daughter behind and march out confidently to their deaths? Dying grace. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. (Psalm 23:4).
- God's goodness never changes. He embodies goodness. O give thanks unto the LORD, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever (Psalm 107:1).
So, how does this help us in our daily lives?
- Because God is good, I can fully trust Him.
- Because God is good, my life will be best following Him.
- Because God is good, He deserves my service.
- Because God is good, He looks out for His children.
- Because God is good, The LORD is my rock,and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower (Psalm 18:2). I can go to Him for protection.
- And, because God is good, even if I would need to die for Him, it would still be good. (What better than to be with Jesus—no pain, no sin, and eternal praise?)
So, the next time you're tempted to judge God for the sad, natural results of sin, remember Who He is.
God is good.
He is always good.