When God Isn't "Good"

 "Understand, therefore, that the Lord your God is indeed God. He is the faithful God who keeps His covenant for a thousand generations and lavishes His unfailing love on those who love and obey His commands." Deuteronomy 7:9

 

I lost my brother this week. A little more than two months ago, the Father, in answer to passionate intercession from many on his behalf, brought him back from the very edge of death, amazing the medical staff who had fully believed he was beyond recovery. Last week, he was back in the same hospital, and after several days of fighting, succumbed to the disease which has relentlessly stalked him for the last 4 years. During this time, prayer, just as passionate, was lifted up for him, yet this time, he didn't recover. The first time, the rejoicing from all was great. The goodness of God was extolled, and the words "God is good" were so effortlessly spoken. Yet this time, the Lord did not bring about recovery. I believe completely in the promise of Deuteronomy 7. Does the outcome with my brother diminish its truth? Does it diminish Him? It's a question that all who profess to be His will come face to face with in this life. How do we respond when God does not seem to be good at all?

In our humanity, particularly here in the west, we have come to believe that God's plans, desires, even agenda, are very much the same as ours. He wants what we want, and in His goodness, will bring it about. In His very goodness and mercy, He often does. When that happens, exclamations of "God is good!" are common. We say it with broad smiles and happy eyes. Yet what happens when He doesn't? It seems fault must then be placed, and it will fall either on us; we didn't trust enough, have enough faith, or displeased Him in some way, or, it's upon Him. He really isn't all that good. He could have done something different, but He didn't. We're like Martha, saying "Lord if You had been here (if You had really cared) my brother would not have died." The worst would not have happened. How could you let it happen? Yet all of us in this life will find, if we have not already, that there are, and will be times, when the worst that could happen, does happen. When it does, has the goodness, mercy, and love of God been diminished?

So many years ago, as I walked through my divorce, I cried out constantly for Him to heal and restore my marriage. I solicited the prayers and support of so many others in this as well. I received a lot of encouragement. Many well meaning brothers and sisters in Him told me that they were sure He, in His goodness, would do just that. I needed to trust, believe, and obey in the process. I sought to do all of that. Yet, in the end, it didn't happen. I would be a liar if I said I didn't at times, even many times, question His goodness and love. But it was in the midst of what I desired so deeply of Him, that I discovered and entered into a deeper understanding of His goodness and mercy than I had ever known before. In the worst that could happen to me, I came to know a God greater and more loving than I had ever believed possible. When it seemed that He was not being "good," I learned just how good He was. That He is. All of us will if we can continue to look to Him, follow Him, in the midst of the worst that might come upon us. In our worst, we will discover His best. No loss, no disappointment, no personal failure can ever, will ever, diminish this truth. They can never diminish Him.

 

I have had other "worst that could happen" scenarios. I found in them, as I find now, that He is good. That His mercies endure forever. Everything I have desired has not been given, but in the midst of my unmet desires, He has never failed to give me Himself. He will not fail you either. Look to Him. He is good, even when it seems that He is not.

Blessings,
Pastor O

 

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