God is good no matter what happens ... He is the source of all goodness!
by Gini Crawford, MSW
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The Bible tells us God is good, and what He does is good! God is the source of all goodness. He created the world very good for us (Genesis 1 & 2). Good in the Bible is defined by the words - beautiful, delightful, pleasant, glad, precious, correct, excellent, lovely, convenient, joyful, fruitful, secure, kind, and righteous.
You are good and do good; Teach me Your statutes. Psalms 119:68 NASB®
God is good no matter what happens
In 2010 a 7.0 earthquake devastated Haiti. Many people were killed. Their infrastructure, their homes and businesses were leveled. It was hard to get food and clean water, so people were struggling to survive. God is sovereign over everything, so He could have stopped the earthquake. So why didn't He? We all know an earthquake that is 7.0 is never good from a human standpoint! It kills and destroys!
Since God allows things that are difficult and even devastating, we can doubt whether He really is good. In fact, trusting that God is good can be quite impossible and very unreasonable from a human perspective at times. A friend of mine was raped. She struggles at times concerning whether God is really good. I know God understands her struggle because He knows all things. I know, He isn't thinking, "How dare that she does not think of Me as good." God is understanding and kind. We are more unsympathetic towards people who are suffering than God is. Remember, He died for us when we were His enemies (Romans 5:8-10). Do you struggle with thinking God is good?
Why does God who is good, allow difficult situations to happen? I believe we won't know the answer to this question completely until we get to heaven. Yet, let me share some Biblical principles that might help you to understand God and why being good, He still allows suffering.
Principle 1 - God's decisions aren't made by finite human reasoning but are made through the understanding and wisdom that created us and loves us (Romans 8:31-39). His decisions are made from an eternal perspective, not from a human perspective. All suffering needs to be looked at from an eternal perspective - realizing something awful now might look like God is not good, but in eternity the result might be very good. Frankly I have wondered if some of the worst situations will turn out to be the most beautiful when we see them in heaven Ė through what they accomplished for us and others (1 Corinthians 13:9-13 & James 1:2-4).
For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 NASB®
Paul wrote the above passage. We know Paul suffered great hardships in his service for God (2 Corinthians 11:23-29). So for Paul to call his earthly suffering - momentary and light affliction shows us he understood God uses earthly trials to prepare us for a glorious eternity.
Principle 2 - God did not create us for pain and suffering, but for fulfillment and peace! In Genesis 2 and 3, it is obvious that sin brought suffering and devastation into the creation that was created to be very good! We need to remember, God doesnít like it when we are suffering. In John 11:33-35, Jesus wept when He saw, and felt firsthand, what the agony of death did to us. God mourns over our suffering, even the suffering our personal sin brings (Isaiah 61, Hosea 11:1-9 and John 11:32-53).
Principle 3 - Sin brings suffering. Quite a bit of our suffering is caused by others sinning against us (Psalm 109:1-5). Yes, God could stop that person from hurting you, but where would He draw the line in stopping people's free will? He gave us the gift of freedom of will, and doesn't water it down through constant intervening. God also set up the laws of nature at creation to work in a precise and prefect manner. Unfortunately, when these laws were burdened with sin, awful effects started happening such as earthquakes, floods, volcanoes, etc. (Genesis 3:17-19 and Romans 8:19-22).
Could God intervene and stop the effects of sin? I believe God does intervene more than we realize. We just do not understand or notice His intervening at times. Here are some examples from my life of God intervening. My husband could have died in the automobile accident when he totaled his car as a teenager, but miraculously he wasn't even hurt. Years ago our kids were walking ahead of my husband and I, and a very drunk driver swerved and missed our children by feet. I still think about how all three could have been killed that day, as we stood helpless. What if the world didn't help Haiti? It was God and His goodness driving people around the world to pour resources into Haiti! Remember the goodness that anyone has and does is because we are all created in God's image. God most definitely leads Christians but He also moves non-Christians to do good (Genesis 1:27 and Psalm 14:1-3).
Principle 4 - God uses suffering for good. Not just our good but other's good too (Romans 8:28). A good example of God using suffering for good is Joseph in Genesis. In short, Joseph's brothers had sold him into slavery out of jealousy when he was a teenager, and were hoping this treacherous deed would end in his death. Now it was many years later and Joseph (who is now second to only Pharaoh of Egypt) says to his brothers,
And as for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive. Genesis 50:20 NASB®
Principle 5 - God loves us and He would never allow us to suffer for the heck of it or just to be mean to us! Because God loves us, God uses suffering to strengthen us in all ways (Hebrews 12:5-11).
Principle 6 - Jesus Christ, Who is God, suffered for us (Isaiah 53)! God's love for us caused Him to allow His Son Jesus to suffer for us, so that the consequences of sin could be stopped and not eternally affect us. This also allows us to be conquerors in our suffering.
...If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? ... Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? ... But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. Romans 8:31-32,35,37 NASB®
What we need to do as we suffer is remember, Jesus Christ took the suffering we deserved when He died on the cross for us (2 Corinthians 5:21). Bear in mind also Jesus is God, so He could have stopped any of His suffering immediately. Yet, He patiently endured His suffering for us. Jesus has also never asked us to go through anything He hasn't! He also never allows us to go through suffering alone. Twelve days after the earthquake in Haiti, a man was miraculously found alive beneath the concrete and wood of a hotel grocery. He survived by diving under a table when the ceiling started to fall. He said, "It was God who was tucking me away in His arms. He gave me strength!" Yes, God is with people especially in their time of need. All we need to do is call out to Him (Psalm 34:4-8).
Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:14-16 NASB®
So when we suffer, let's follow Jesus' example and trust ourselves to God the Father, just as He did.
For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth; and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously; and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed. For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls. 1 Peter 2:21-25 NASB®
For more on God and suffering go to: Why does God allow us to suffer? (Part 1) and Where are you God when I hurt? Or the silence of God. (Part 2)
What does God being good mean?
God is the source of all goodness, and apart from Him there would not be good! God created the world good or very good (Genesis 1:4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25, and 31). Because God is absolutely good, He has never done or ever will do something that is not good, even though you might think and feel what He does isn't! (I know all of us have been through situations that seem anything but good. I certainly have. That is why I covered this struggle in the above 6 principles - why God being good allows what we as humans perceive as un-good.)
God had created everything very good and wanted it to stay that way. God commanded Adam and Eve not to eat the fruit from a certain tree in Genesis 2:16-17
...but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.
But Adam and Eve did not listen to God and brought bad or evil into our perfect world (Genesis 3). Bad is defined as the opposite of good and is explained by various words. These words are: ugly, hurtful, painful, unhappy, inferior, wrong, hideous, confusion, fearful, unfruitful, insecure, mean, and evil. Have you ever thought about how very different things would be without bad in the world?
Did you realize that every good thing comes from God? That yummy donut came from God. He created flour, sugar and the know how to make good tasting things. That beautiful singing came from the talent God gave a person. That soft cotton blouse came from the cotton plant God created. The lovely sun rise that I saw yesterday was from God. That pleasant odor after the rain came from Godís creation, the sage bush. When someone loves you, that love came from God, because He created love. When you hold your child in your arms and feel that fulfillment, of course that child and even that feeling came from God. I could go on.
Do not be deceived...Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. James 1:16-17 NASB®
God is as good now as when He created everything good at the beginning of time (Genesis 1). God never changes, He is always good (1 Samuel 15:29). He is as good now, as He was when He suffered and died for you on the cross 2,000 years ago. God is good when my candidate wins the election, but God is also good when we lose. God is good when your husband loves you, but He is also good when your husband doesnít. God was good when He allowed my friend to birth four healthy children, but she knew God was good when a fifth son died in birth.
When things happen that seem anything but good, remember, Godís good plans for you are being accomplished whether you feel or think they are! (Numbers 23:19 and Psalm 138:8). Realizing this principle can help you trust God even when the going gets mighty rough.
"For I know the plans that I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope." Jeremiah 29:11 NASB®
This verse is one of those Bible verses I repeat to myself quite often, because as we all know, life isn't easy. And I need to remind myself that God is in loving control of my life, and wants good for me, not calamity!
Read Genesis 1 and 2. God created everything Adam and Eve and all of humankind would need to live happily forever. His creation is His work of goodness for all of us! As you read Genesis 1 and 2, ask yourself, "How do I see Godís goodness in this verse or passage?" Also how many times is creation called good or very good?
One of the good things that happened from the Haiti earthquake - was a spiritual revival in some churches in the aftermath. Give details of something good that has come from your suffering or someone else's. My son was in Iraq as a Marine officer. He saw many destructive and devastating things, but He also saw God's many miracles...God's goodness.
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