Friday, May 21, 2010

Thoughts on God's Goodness

The other day I was part of a chain message. One friend was sharing exciting news and began "God is SOOOOOOO GOOD". Someone else replied, congratulating them on their news and said, "Yes, our God is good". Deep sorrow immediately overtook me when I read those words. It's in no way a judgment against these friends. Instead it was a recognition of my personal tendency to say these words lightly.

How often I have I used those words flippantly? "...So this great thing happened and, oh yeah, God is so good!". Even the times I meant it, did I truly believe it no matter the cost? We are quick to praise God's goodness when things work out as we wanted. In some ways it's a Christian catch-phrase that's just tacked onto the end of a conversation. Sort of a clincher to the conversation. Give a slight pause to add an air of reflection .... and then launch right into the next topic for discussion.

Flannery O'Connor (American author who died at the age of 39 from lupus) wrote, "The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it." Am I just as willing to praise God's goodness in hard situations? After all, "the truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it".

My current situation in life does not allow me to freely use the words "God is so good." The truth has not change despite my "ability to stomach it". Yet using these words flippantly is not an option. Therefore I grit my teeth in determination and declare that despite how I feel or how it "seems to be" that my God is good.

He is good whether or not I receive a miraculous healing.

He is good whether or not I make it into a top grad school.

He is good whether or not I spend the rest of my life in poverty or in surplus.

He is good whether or not I receive the blessing of a husband and children.

He is good whether or not I live the rest of my life with incurable diseases.

The fact is, despite my ability to "stomach it" at any point in my life, God is still good.




"When it's dark and it's cold and I can't feel my soul, You are so good,
When the world has gone gray and the rain's here to stay, You are still good"

3 comments:

  1. The question I would ask anyone who flippantly throws around "God is good," would not be "Do you believe this in the hard times?" But I would ask if they truly believe God is good at all, or that this wonderful thing that has happened is all that is good-- in other words idolatry, which all of us are guilty of often. I stopped using that phrase for that reason, because I realized it wasn't really glorifying God to say it because I often only used it in the good times.
    Don't know if you've seen this, but it applies to what you just wrote about.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PTc_FoELt8s

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  2. I believe every Christian uses that word now and again - but like you said: only in the good times.

    Oh how hard is it to praise Jesus when we are falling (or it just feels that way)? God does everything to bring glory to His kingdom. Trials strengthen us (because faith in a fire shines the brightest), good times restore us, and Christ upholds us.

    That was a great post. I do look forward to reading more of what you write.

    What you say is the truth: We praise GOD when times are good and often fall away when they get harder. When that happens, it's when we need to cement ourselves even more in God's Word and love each and every day.

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  3. I know what you mean about doctors, imperfect conditions in areas of your life, and the use of "christian catchphrases" to seem on the outside like everything is good.
    I find myself using them more often than not to hide a struggle I'm going through - so it's about me, not God.
    And that is terrible.

    God SOOO loves us.
    He is SOOO VERY GOOD
    And He knows what we need.
    The last is hard to stomach, especially with health problems. But his peace can help.
    I'm very encouraged by reading all your posts. You are very strong through all this, and I am quite humbled.
    You are in my prayers!

    -Rae

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