God is good.
These are words often uttered to those experiencing difficult trials in their lives. Unfortunately, these also are words that often sound hollow to the one experiencing those trials--cotton-candy, feel-good, substanceless words in the midst of excruciating pain or unbearable temptation:
God is good.
Since the garden of Eden, one of humanity’s greatest temptations is to doubt that Author of Good is truly good. In the opening chapters of Genesis, everything God creates is “very good.” Yet, when the serpent comes to Eve, he plants this thought in her mind: God is withholding good from me.
Is God good?
Think of the absolute statement we find in Romans 8:28: “for those who love God all things work together for good.” Stated negatively, for those who love God nothing--NOTHING--works together for bad. Do you find this hard to believe? Are there memories in the past or trials in the present that tempt you to doubt the claim that nothing in your life is for your detriment?
I want to make a bold claim: If you are a Christian, nothing bad will happen to you. Yes, you will experience heartache, temptation, betrayal, sickness, sorrow, and death, but none of it is bad for you.
Is God good?
What about physical frailty?
In this cursed world, we are beset with physical frailty at every turn. Handicaps, diseases, aches and pains, mental disability--it is all a result of the Fall. Yet, because of Christ, even our physical frailty is for our good. Paul’s thorn in the flesh (2 Cor 12:7-10) was means by which Christ’s power was “made perfect,” leading Paul to say, “for the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” It is through our frail bodies, which Paul calls “jars of clay” (2 Cor 4:7), that the power of God is made manifest, an eternal perspective is magnified, and opportunity to encourage others is expanded (2 Cor 1:3-7).
What about the sinful actions of others?
People will hurt you. Some of the most agonizing moments in your life will come at the hand of another, often a close friend. How could this be good for you? Consider Joseph. He was thrown into a well and sold into slavery by his own brothers, unjustly accused by Potiphar’s wife, thrown into prison, and left to rot in prison by those whom he tried to help. Yet, he was able to tell his brothers, “you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good” (Gen 50:20). God seizes the evil intentions of men, and employs them for the good of his children.
What about temptations to sin?
James tells us that God never tempts us to sin (James 1:13); yet, we encounter temptations on a daily basis. But even these temptations are under God’s sovereign control. “He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it” (1 Cor 10:13). Although the devil tempts you so that you may stumble, God permits those temptations for your good, providing both the way of escape and the means of endurance. In fact, God’s goodness is often most clearly seen in the presence of intense temptation.
What about consequences for personal sin?
Unfortunately, we frequently yield to our flesh and experience the agonizing consequences: broken relationships, health problems, loss of respect, a guilty conscience. How could such consequences be good for me? Because unfettered freedom to sin is far worse (Rom 1-2). Remember that by disciplining and correcting you, “God is treating you as sons” (Heb 12:7). God doesn’t discipline the Devil’s children. Every heart-wrenching consequence of your sinful choices is God’s loving rod guiding you back to himself.
What about death?
The ultimate enemy. The scourge of sin. The victim of Christ’s obedience. Death has lost it’s sting for those who have been made alive in Christ. What has terrorized the world for millennia, Christ has tamed. He has knocked out Death’s teeth. The Christian cannot be threatened with death, for it is simply an usher to eternity with Christ--final glorification; the ultimate good.
God is good.
Christian, nothing bad will happen to you. No, I’m not saying that difficult times won’t come or that we should live every day with a pasted smile, laugh through trials, and shrug at difficulty. Life is full of pain, tears, and regrets. But the eyes of faith look through the tears, past that pain, and onto the purpose. Faith sees the goodness of God in physical frailty, the evil of others, temptations, consequences of sin, and death itself.
Yes, “for those who love God all things work together for good.” Every bad circumstance in your life comes in contact with the goodness of God, contributing to our predestined purpose: “to be conformed to the image of his Son” (Rom 8:29).
All things work together for good. Nothing works together for bad. Whatever “thing” you are currently experiencing, you can have the immovable assurance that it is good for you.
Is God good?
Yes. God is truly good.
Aaron earned both his undergrad and MA in Bible at Bob Jones University. After getting married to his beautiful bride, Hanna, the two of them moved to Detroit, Michigan to continue ministerial training. Aaron is currently pursuing his MDiv degree while serving as the Director of Recruitment at Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary and works on staff at Inter-City Baptist Church.
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