While recently teaching at Vacation Bible School, one of the themes was “When Life changes, God is Good.”
In the news, though, it seems like everything is bad and getting worse. It’s almost ironic because that particular night happened to be the day the incident in Orlando happened. In our human minds, this travesty was so far from being a “good” thing.
Is God good when everything is falling apart? How do we witness when there are so many pieces going awry right now? We are trying to walk this Christian journey, but isn’t it hard to offer support and encouragement when we start to ask the same questions?
Why did my child die? Why did I lose my house? What about my health?
If you are like me, I grope for some answer. I want to share my faith, but sometimes saying God is good feels forced or cliché. If I try to change my perspective, my human mind might try to reason: Tragedy is bad, but if God can strengthen someone’s faith or bring another to the cross, then in God’s eyes these would be good things. More souls in Heaven choosing Him creates the greatest result. But honestly, this is hard to grasp when I’m the one struck with travesty.
I want to point out, God does not enjoy seeing us sad or broken. He does not get a rise out of our suffering. It actually upsets Him, which leads the Bible to say:
You’ve kept track of my every toss and turn through the sleepless nights, each tear entered in your ledger, each ache written in your book.” (Psalm 56:8)
God is good even if our eyes can’t see any good, or our humans minds can’t dissect the reason for the incident. Sometimes the “whys” don’t have an answer yet on Earth. Only in faith can we hold tight and believe God knows what He’s doing.
I don’t think the way you think. The way you work isn’t the way I work. For as the sky soars high above earth, so the way I work surpasses the way you work, and the way I think is beyond the way you think.” (Isaiah 55:8-9 MSG)
When I open my Bible to read about the Israelites and their struggle in the wilderness, I find myself wondering how they made so many mistakes. They had witnessed the presence and promise of God through prophets and God himself. They spent forty years wandering around the wilderness because they had failed to keep God in the front and center.
Though they made mistake after mistake, God continued to provide and protect them. God was good even though they had turned their backs on him. God didn’t have to give anything, but He chose to.
In Nehemiah 9:20-23 (MSG), we read about God’s provisions:
You gave them your good Spirit to teach them to live wisely. You never stinted with your manna, gave them plenty of water to drink. You supported them forty years in that desert; they had everything they needed; Their clothes didn’t wear out and their feet never blistered. […] You multiplied children for them, rivaling the stars in the night skies […]”
The Israelites sound a lot like our culture: turning backs, worshiping idols, and eschewing God’s commands. But in God’s abundant mercy, babies are born daily, food and drink are plentiful and we continue to find something pleasing here on Earth.
Even when we are at our worst, God is still good.
Humanity might have turned from God, but He is still providing. There are still blessings in the mess. Life will change, and we will still find excellence in our newest situation. God will be there, and if we dig and preserve we will see other gratifying things.
God is merciful even in the chaos.
Jesus, it’s seems like everything here on Earth is falling farther and farther away from your ideals. It’s so difficult to grasp on to the good you are sending me. Help me to remember that even when it seems to be crashing in on me, you are a constant good. Open my eyes to see the other gifts of goodness that are around me. Give me the words when I need to witness on your behalf. In your Holy name, Amen.
Do you find yourself floundering for an answer when you need to witness in the midst of tragedy? What is your go-to passage for encouragement to others?