I looked at the face book post with the caption, “God is so good!” and wondered again if she would say the same words if her life wasn’t rocking in prosperity.
What if her business was plummeting and she faced thousands of dollars in debt rather than millions in revenue? Would God still be good?
I’m also thinking of Job this morning, and how God calls him “blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil.” (Job 1:1, ESV)
Satan shows up before God’s presence and tells Him that Job only loves because God is so incredibly good to him. He tells God to take away Job’s blessings and he will surely turn from his love for God.
So, God says ok. Take it all, but don’t kill him.
Job’s life turns from extra-ordinary blessing into such a pain ridden life that even his wife begs him to curse God and die. Job tells her no, and remarks that she speaks like a foolish woman.
Notice he doesn’t call her a foolish woman; he tells her she speaks like one of the foolish women. Then, he replies with a question, “Shall we receive good from God and shall we not receive evil?”
“In all this, Job did not sin with his lips.” (Job 1:9&10)
See again when he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I shall return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”
“In all this, Job did not sin or charge God with wrong.” (Job 1: 21&22, ESV)
My heart wows over this man because I know something he didn’t know. I get to read the after-math of his painful experience and see that he was really on trial. I get to read how God boasted of his faithful servant to satan, and how satan challenged the Lord with a light-defying war blazing across the reality of Job’s life.
I get to read how God didn’t flinch for a minute because He knew that Job was aware of his goodness in spite of all odds—and he’d never deny it, even in the face of near death.
Job didn’t know he was in the midst of light and darkness clashing in a spiritual war. All he saw was the death of his children, the destruction of his livelihood, and the face of his discouraged wife as she watched him sit in the dust, scraping his boils with a piece of broken pottery.
Even his friends were so taken aback by his pathetic situation that they sat on the ground with him and didn’t speak a word for seven days.
Get this—complete silence from his best friends. How horrible!
But, Job knew something about the goodness of God—that whether or not we understand our circumstance makes no difference in the measure of goodness in the character of God.
But in the midst of it, even Job began to question God, and he cursed the day of his birth. (Job 3:1, ESV)
God walks him through loss, pain of insane measure, and then, right back to his goodness. Job accepts and receives, long before he’s healed and restored.
I wonder how satan slinked back in shame when his boasting didn’t hold weight. He must have watched eagerly for Job to curse God and die. But, though he walked through a season of questions, he never walked away from God.
Light and darkness clashed in a holy war over the greatest question man-kind will ever experience–—Is God really, truly good in the face of suffering and pain?
A few years ago, my breath was taken away at the blessings that came pouring in to my life. I hadn’t expected so many of my dreams to be realized, so soon. Every day, I was keenly aware of God’s goodness toward me.
Today, my life is riddled with trials and loss of such magnitude that it takes some serious effort to rise above and keep going. Even more serious faith that God has me, and holds me. Each day, I wake to mine and the kids’ new reality—and helping them through their pain is as difficult as dealing with my own.
I could ask God why—and sometimes I do.
I could be angry with God—but I’m not.
When man betrays you, does God betray you, too? Or is He steady when life is rocky, good when life turns sour, and faithful when mortal man is not?
God whispers to my heart that He’s good. He wasn’t with me before, only to leave when my life turned upside down.
Heaven still rules. Those who walk away from God when life gets hard fail to see that an immortal God couldn’t be who He says He is if His goodness changed with the choices of mortal humans.
See this—we were never meant to compare an immortal God to fallen humanity. There is nothing to compare, only every reason to turn from man toward God—because God never fails. In fact, the greater man’s failure, the greater God’s own measure of grace toward you.
Earth was never promised to be easy, but God has always promised heaven, always given grace for those who receive it, and always assured us that He will never leave us. He has stood by His character and never once let anyone down who held firmly to the truth of what He speaks.
How can we, as mortal humans, base the goodness of an immortal God on any given circumstance in a fallen world? God never fell when man chose to sin, and my heart aches to see the enemy of our souls win by convincing us that just because man is not good, God must not be, either.
We live in a fallen world because mortal humans have free will and make wrong choices, but we do not serve a God who is capable of failing. If my God was capable of failing me, He would no longer deserve my life or my praise.
It cannot be one or the other—either God is good all the time, or He is not good at any time. I choose to believe and rest in the former, because I know the latter to be false.
God never promised that we would understand everything, all the time. He did promise grace in spite of everything, and at all times.
God also never promised eternally faithful humans—but He did promise to be eternally faithful regardless of what people choose.
Job trusted in the midst of trial, long before He knew what was really going on. Will we do the same?
There’s a song waiting to be sung in our hearts, a song of worship, a song not contingent on any other fact than the most important one we will ever embrace—that God is inherently, ultimately, and beautifully GOOD.
Joshua urges us to choose this day whom we serve. Will you say it with me, no matter what:
“As for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” (Joshua 24:15, ESV)