And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. –Romans 8:28 (NLT)
“God is so good.” Most of us have heard this phrase before. It’s a phrase often heard within the Christian community. And, without question, the phrase is true! Still, almost always, the phrase is connected with another positive statement, like: “We won the lottery! God is so good!” Or, “My house was spared in the tornado. God is so good.” These examples may overstate the case, but you get the picture.
We tend to notice God’s goodness when things are going well; when everyone in our family is healthy, when we get a raise at work, when rain doesn’t ruin our picnic. But what about when a child or spouse gets cancer? What about when we lose a job, or our marriage heads for the rocks? When was the last time you heard someone say, “I can’t afford to pay my mortgage this month, but God is so good”?
It’s entirely appropriate to reflect on God’s goodness in the good times. And, there’s nothing to be happy about when difficult life circumstances come our way. Circumstances, however, never determine God’s character. God is good. All the time. Period.
In this life, there is no escaping pain. It comes in all different kinds, shapes, colors and personalities. It falls on us without warning or concern for our schedules and regardless of how much pain we are already facing. Sometimes, just when you feel you can’t handle another ounce of pain, one of life’s dump-trucks stops by and drops a load of it right on your doorstep. Pain is an equal opportunity distributor. No one avoids pain. Pain happens.
Here’s an important reminder even in times of pain: God is good. God always provides growth opportunities for us in the midst of pain. God uses the painful experiences of our lives to build character. if we respond appropriately. In James 1:2-3 we read, Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
God also wants us to use what He teaches us in the painful seasons of our lives for the benefit of others: Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)
The challenge today–and everyday–for us who follow Christ, is to be able to say whatever our circumstances, “God is good.” May God give us grace to trust in His goodness in the good and bad times alike.
What circumstances in your life do you find it difficult to think that God is good?
Job 1:1 – 2:10; 2 Corinthians 11:23-28; Philippians 1:12