If You Need to Remember that God is Good

I can’t believe I’m going to admit this in a public venue, but sometimes, I secretly roll my eyes when something wonderful happens and someone exclaims, “God is so good!”

sunrise

I don’t react this way because what the person says isn’t true, or even because I think he or she shouldn’t say it. Clearly, giving God credit for the blessings He kindly bestows is an obvious and appropriate response in many situations.

Rather, it’s because it sort of amuses me that I don’t think I’ve ever heard someone proclaim this phrase when something bad happens, even though God’s goodness supersedes human circumstances and is always present, no matter what.

It might sound a tiny bit like a cliché when we repeat it in church, but it’s solid biblical truth.

God is good, all the time (Psalm 23:6 and Psalm 136:1).

And although a conscientious person would never carelessly toss out phrases about God’s goodness to someone in the throes of suffering, when it’s properly understood, this aspect of His character can provide great comfort and encouragement in the midst of a trial.

You could probably fill a library with all the non-fiction books that have been written about why God allows suffering. But when Randy and I were dealing with infertility many years ago, it was actually a passage from a novel that touched my aching heart so much I just had to include it in the book I later wrote about the subject.

In the following excerpt from my book, I describe what is happening in the story, then share a powerful quotation from Heathersleigh Homecoming by Michael Phillips.

• • • •

A woman named Hope had served for a time as a missionary in New Zealand. She and her husband were enjoying their ministry and expecting their first child when a leader in their village turned on them, killing her husband and burning their home.

The shock of it sent her into labor, but the baby didn’t survive. This tragedy forced Hope to totally rethink her faith. “How can I believe in God’s goodness after what had happened?” she asked herself over and over again.

She sank into deep despair. Then one day, after she had returned home to London, a chance opportunity to help a lost little boy find his mother made her realize that despite her doubts and self-absorption, she was still capable of kindness and goodness.

Upon recognizing that the goodness within her had come from God, she came to the conclusion that God truly was good, and that His goodness wasn’t meant to take away the world’s suffering, but to provide a refuge in the middle of it. As the following excerpt shows, this realization transformed the way she looked at life.

“What I came to accept was simply this … that God is good.”

A long silence followed.

“Only that and nothing more,” Sister Hope added, “—God is good.

“It does not mean that things in my life will always be good … but that God is good. It does not mean that my life will be an easy one … but that God is good. It does not mean that my prayers will always be answered in the way I would like … but that God is good. It does not mean that tragedy may not visit me … but that God is good. It does not mean that there will not always be suffering in the world … but that God is good. It does not mean that there will not be times when I am so overcome by sadness at memories in my life that I must go outside and find a place to be alone and just cry for an hour … but that God is good. It does not mean that there will not continue to be many who will deny his very existence because of the pain and seeming unfairness of life they see all around them … but that God is good. It does not mean that there will not always be many questions for which we have no answers … but that God is good.

“God’s goodness is the larger truth over the whole, the largest truth overspreading all of life—over cruelty, over suffering, over tragedy, over doubts, over despair, over broken relationships, over sin itself. Why God’s goodness doesn’t eliminate such things, I don’t know. Perhaps we shall ask him one day. For some reason our tiny human minds cannot comprehend, God has allowed suffering in his universe. I don’t know why. You and I might have done it differently. But then we are not God, so it is impossible for us to see all the way into the depths of the matter. We therefore cannot perceive the many ways in which the very suffering we rail against may in fact contribute to the overall eternal benefit and growth of God’s universe and its created beings.

“We cannot see to the bottom of such things. So we foolish creatures look at the world’s suffering and say God must not exist, or if he does he must not care, or must be a cruel God. Yet I suspect that when we are one day able to see all the way into it, we will see that Goodness and Love lie at the root even of all the suffering that was ever borne by this fallen humanity of which we are part. The devil is presently having his brief illusion of triumph, but God’s goodness will reign in the end.”

She paused, then added, “In short, the circumstances of life do not always seem to be good, but God himself is always good. Thus, though there may not always be happiness, there is always hope. That must be the basis for our faith—not that God gives us a happy life.”

• • • •

A couple of decades have passed since I first read that passage from Heathersleigh Homecoming, and its impact is as strong now as it was then. If you find yourself in a spot where you need to reflect on God’s goodness today, I hope this has helped.

Lois Flowers

Note: This post includes an excerpt from my book Infertility: Finding God’s Peace in the Journey (Harvest House, 2003), available here.

P.S. Linking up this week with Kelly Balarie at Purposeful Faith, Jennifer Dukes Lee at #TellHisStory, Holley Gerth at Coffee for Your Heart, Lyli Dunbar at #ThoughtProvokingThursday, Crystal Twaddell at #FreshMarketFriday and Dawn Klinge at Grace & Truth.



20 Responses to If You Need to Remember that God is Good

  1. Lois, you are a powerful writer, and this is really food for thought! I think one of the most difficult truths we all have to come to grips with is that even when life is hard and loss is great, God is still good, and there is always hope! I am so encouraged when I stop by here friend:) Blessings and happiness:) Crystal~

    • Lois Flowers says:

      Crystal, your words are a breath of fresh air for me this morning–thank you! I’m so glad our bloggings paths crossed when they did. I hope you are having a wonderful day!

  2. KellyRBaker says:

    This is powerful, and gives explanation to that question we all ask.. how can God be good in tragedy? He sees so much more than we do. Thanks for your post!

  3. That was beautiful. What a touching story!

  4. Oops — and I forgot to thank you for your lovely comment on my post this morning – it made my day! I know that you are a published and professional writer and I truly value your encouraging words!

  5. Hi Lois,
    I suppose it’s natural for us to relate an unchangeable attribute of God — his goodness — to the circumstances that puzzle us in our lives, but we have to realize that our finite minds can’t completely comprehend God’s nature. We have to rest there in the mystery, which is so hard for us to do! It’s a difficult topic to ponder but I’m so glad you tackled it because I think it’s so necessary for us to start there – at God’s goodness — if we are ever able to go deeper still in our journeys with God. Loved this!

    • Lois Flowers says:

      I agree 100 percent, Valerie. So much of the Christian journey is a mystery, isn’t it? Your comment is making me ponder the attributes of God’s character that have most influenced my faith, and I would have to say that goodness is definitely near the top of the list. Thanks for your kind words, my friend!

  6. Debby says:

    Stopping by from Jennifer Dukes Lee’s place. We have been reminded of God’s goodness in the midst of tragedy. There’s a quote from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe that I like about God’s goodness. When asked if Aslan is safe, Mrs. Beaver says, “Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.” Yes, he’s good. All the time.

    • Lois Flowers says:

      Debby, I love that Narnia quote! I guess it’s like so many other things about God–it’s truth that comforts, even if we can’t explain it. Thanks for stopping by this week. 🙂

  7. When I saw your title on #TestimonyTuesday, Lois, my heart lept becuse I’ve been thinking a lot about hope lately. How amazing. Even after such bad things happen to a person, she is still capable of showing goodness to another person. Proof of God’s goodness in our natural world. He has placed goodness within us. Thanks for sharing your book excerpt.

    • Lois Flowers says:

      That’s IS amazing that you’ve thinking about hope and the character from Heathersleigh Homecoming is named “Hope.” I have a feeling the author (Michael Phillips) named her that on purpose! Blessings to you today, my friend!

  8. Mary McCully says:

    Lois, no need for me to express details of life now as you covered the bottom line of life. That God is good all the time”. Jordan was married in a beautiful ceremony Saturday and Morgan acknowledged it was also her third year anniversary since her last chemotherapy. She caught the bride’s bouquet and her boyfriend caught the garter! Yes, God is good all the time. Love you beautiful child of our King Jesus.

    • Lois Flowers says:

      Oh Mary, with your life and your words, you have reminded me of God’s goodness so many times. And now today, with this news from your family … you and Bill must have hearts that are full and overflowing! I’m so happy for you, Morgan, Jordan and the rest of your family. Love to you all!

  9. Linda Stoll says:

    Thanks for going here this morning, Lois. This really hit home for me, and this line grabbed me big time –>’she came to the conclusion that God truly was good, and that His goodness wasn’t meant to take away the world’s suffering, but to provide a refuge in the middle of it. ‘

    Our refuge and strength, an ever present help in times of trouble. Yes, He is.

  10. I actually have heard the phrase uttered in difficult and painful circumstances, many times and by many people. A particular friend comes to mind. She has suffered multiple health issues (including cancer), the loss of her 20-something daughter, the loss of her husband, the loss of her house through fire, and probably a lot of stuff I don’t know about.

    She’s where I first heard the phrase “God is good. All the time.” She attends my former church and sends cards of encouragement to those who are suffering.

    His goodness and care of us is a mystery, but I know for sure that He is good — all the time!

    • Lois Flowers says:

      Your friend sounds like a remarkable person, Suzy. Isn’t it beautiful to see such a ministry of encouragement flow from someone who has experienced what she has gone through? 🙂

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