God is good... When?
By: Pastor Scott Brodd
I can hear the words in my head over and over again, the words I often recited with the rest of the congregation on Sunday morning in response to the pastor's cue. He would start out the chorus by declaring, "God is good..." then we would respond, "All the time!" Then, to solidify that truth in our heads, he would then reverse the wording by repeating the congregation's words, "All the time..." then we would respond with the original promise, "God is good!"
As I sit here holding our 3-month-old daughter, the baby who the odds were stacked against because of a high-risk pregnancy due to a rare pregnancy-related condition Kaitlin (my wife) suffered from, the same baby who the head of the OB/GYN department at the University of Pennsylvania Hospital said, "all we can do is pray," I can't help but repeat over and over again my pastor's promise...
GOD is GOOD
What a great promise that is! Our God is morally, perfectly, supremely, eternally good in all of His ways. His Word is saturated with reminders of this refrain: "You [God] are good and do good..." (Ps. 119:68 ESV), "Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good..." (Ps. 107:1 ESV), "The LORD is good to all..." (Ps. 145:9 ESV), "Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good!" (Ps. 34:8 ESV). There is no doubt about it... God is in fact good, and "[He] is the same yesterday and today and forever" (Heb. 13:8 ESV).
However, when is it that we most often joyfully recount this three-word promise of God's goodness? What posts or tweets are worthy enough to merit the hashtag #Godisgood or even a short comment from friends, "God is good!"? Usually, those events/posts that are deemed worthy concern something joyous or favorable happening in our lives. If you do a quick search on Facebook or twitter of the hashtag "#GodIsGood," you will discover a vast array of exciting and positive events in the lives of your friends (or even your own) that have been tagged with this very promise. For example, "I have an interview for a new job with better pay and benefits... #Godisgood," "Thankful that we were able to spend our Thanksgiving together with family this year... #Godisgood," "We're moving into our new house today...#Godisgood," "Our baby was brought into this world alive and well, despite a deadly pregnancy-related condition...#Godisgood," Now, of course, God is good and everything good that happens in our lives is because of His handiwork, from new jobs to new babies, all because of that amazing truth. To not attribute "every good and perfect gift" (James 1:17 ESV) as coming from God's goodness would be sin.
It is quite evident, though, that we only declare God's goodness when something we desire to happen... happens, like we receive something we really want, or our prayers are answered the very way we requested. Hardly ever to we thank God for his goodness when something unfavorable comes our way. You never see a post or tweet that reads, "I lost my job today... #Godisgood," or, "The doctors still found cancer despite the surgery; will have to go through multiple treatments of radiation... #Godisgood."
Even though God's goodness never changes, it seems our declaring His goodness changes conditioned upon the favorability of our situation.
If we're walking on the heights enjoying life, we can easily say, "God is good." However, if we're walking through the valley in the shadows, it is not so easy to tag our plight with that nine-letter hashtag, #Godisgood. My wife and I are in awe of God's goodness... but we weren't exactly praising Him for His goodness after each of the three miscarriages we suffered through in 2014 (even though not a single ounce of God's goodness had diminished in any way). As I think about each of our four kids, including the three we lost early in pregnancy because of the same condition the one we now have survived, I must confess I wasn't tagging #Godisgood onto the end of those first three pregnancy experiences.
However, during each of those experiences, what do you think would have been the most comforting truth of God to remember? God is, in fact, good! Is not His goodness the very thing we needed to be reminded of during those dark days? Was not His unfailing goodness the very characteristic of God that brings the most comfort and peace in the midst of the raging storms and great loss? Why is it we attribute favored outcomes to God's goodness and fail to remember, or even put on trial, God's goodness when things go awry? Considering that He is good in all that He does and all that He permits brings a surpassing peace and pleasure knowing that God knows what He is doing and everything will ultimately be good, according to His promise in Romans 8:28 - "And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose." (ESV)
This is why the popular refrain doesn't go, "God is good... when I get a new car," or "God is good... when I receive a bonus," it is...
God is Good, All the Time
Be sure to tag every single life event with this beautiful promise, #Godisgood, no matter how radiant or gloomy the day.