Once in 1 Chronicles, twice in 2 Chronicles and at least 5 different times Psalmists use this exact phrase. Ezra also says that “With praise and thanksgiving they sang to the Lord: “He is good; his love toward Israel endures forever.” And all the people gave a great shout of praise to the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid.” (3:11)
Psalm 25:8 declares that the Lord is good and upright and Psalm 34:8 says to “taste and see that the Lord is good.”
Another example of his goodness and love for us is in His redemptive act of sending His son to die for us. Most people, even many non-Christians, know or are familiar with John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” I don’t know many parents who would give up their only child to save someone, much less someone who does not know them or care one iota about them. Yet Romans 5:8 says that God’s love for us is plainly shown to us because even while we were sinners, God gave His son for us. Who does that?? My God, that’s who. My good, faithful, loving God.
I could go on and on with verses that declare God’s goodness and love for us and tell us in plain language about our wonderful, good God because God’s Word is a testimony of who He is.
But how do we reconcile God’s goodness when life happens?
We know that God is good because He tells us so. We see it in our lives very clearly sometimes. I am blessed with a God-fearing husband, a wonderful home, we always have enough money to pay our bills, our families love us dearly, I’m blessed with a Jesus-loving best friend, and I could go on. But sometimes, His goodness and love for us doesn’t appear to be so clear cut.
Like almost a decade of pain from misdiagnosed fibromyalgia. Or the Ocular Melanoma my dear friend beat, but several years later she has discovered she now has a spot of cancer on her liver. Or the baby who is left to die in a pit in the middle of Africa. Or my joy at discovering I’m pregnant only to have my dreams for that little life dashed a week later with a miscarriage.
Sometimes, it is hard to see God’s goodness.
But here is the other side to all of those true scenarios above.
Yes, I have fibromyalgia and lived in sometimes severe pain for almost 10 years. But God is SO good. He used my story to minister to sweet sisters in Christ in Kenya to let them know that we all suffer. Doctors can’t fix everyone. And even though I suffer, I love them enough to struggle through it and travel across the world to meet them and share with them in God’s Word. And in that moment as my testimony ministered to those dear women, God used them to minister to me. To show me that all things are for my good and the good of His children. My pain was their gain, which ended up being my gain, too!
A good friend of mine had Ocular Melanoma about 3 or 4 years ago. Against the odds, she beat it. Her baby girl (she was pregnant at the time) is a beautiful, vivacious little thing. And my friend? She just learned that her cancer is back. A spot on her liver. But my friend? She exudes Christ everywhere she goes. Ain’t no cancer gettin’ her down! At MD Anderson for more yucky “drinks” for tests? She is sharing her hope and joy in Christ with all those around her. A couple of weeks ago, she was getting her nails done and someone overheard her talking to another cancer survivor. Afterward she said, “I can tell there is something different about you. I want to know more about it. Can we get together for coffee?” God is using my friend in amazing ways!!
Missionary friends of ours live in Kenya and were looking to adopt a baby. In Kenya, an American can’t adopt a Kenyan baby. But the husband is Kenyan, so they were looking for a little Kenyan baby. And somebody had left a sweet, innocent, precious little baby boy in a pit. Little BJ was found and taken to an orphanage where my missionary friends fell in love with him. Was it a terrible way to start life to be found in a pit? Yes. Is it a wonderful testimony to the goodness of God? Absolutely! BJ was literally lifted from the miry clay pit and given another chance at life. He is a bundle of joy and a wonderful blessing to all.
Lastly, the joy of discovering you are going to have a baby! The excitement of my family as it would be the first baby on my side, the hopes you have and prayers you pray for the little bundle growing daily inside your womb and the joy and excitement it brings to your home as you begin to plan how life might look when the baby comes. A week of excitement and joy. I say week, because that is as long as it lasted for me. It was followed by a week with an ER visit ( I was there at midnight on my birthday, too), bed rest, boredom, uncertainty, emotional pain and great physical pain.
I had been struggling to see God’s goodness in this most recent event in my life.
But, God is good, and He has been opening my eyes to little things along the way. I had no idea miscarriages are so common. I can’t tell you how many women have been able to use their experience to minister to and comfort me. If the only good thing was that it gave all those other women someone to comfort, then that would be good enough for me! My husband also pointed out that our baby never had to be in a painful, sinful world. God chose to take him/her straight to heaven! Sure, my heart still aches, but my God loves me and knows what is best for me. And just like in my suffering with fibromyalgia and my friend’s cancer and BJ’s early beginnings, my miscarriage has given other people a blessing – an opportunity for them to comfort and be comforted.
So when life gets real for you, and I mean REAL, remember, that God is good. Not just sometimes. God never changes. If he was good in the times of the Old Testament, He is good now. This very moment. And it may be hard to see, and we may never see, but He has good plans for those who love Him and are called to His purposes (Rom 5:8) and plans to prosper, not harm those He loves – to give them a hope and future (Jer 29:11). When God promised in Jeremiah 29:11 to prosper those He loved and to give them a hope and a future, it was immediately following the news that the Israelites would be in exile for 70 years. It would be hard to see God’s goodness in that. But He had plans to prosper them and give them a hope and a future – a son He loved that would redeem the world.
When Jesus died on the cross and in the days following, the disciples couldn’t see God’s goodness either. It didn’t make sense to them. But that didn’t mean that God stopped being good just because they couldn’t see it at the time. No, God has always and will always be good.
So when life comes at you, how will you respond? Will you praise God for His goodness? Will you continue to worship God for who He is?
How do you handle the hard things in life? Is there a special verse that helps you remember who God is? Do you have a friend you can lean on? Share it in the comments below! We can all learn from one another 🙂