You know - the news camera pans the street of homes destroyed by a tornado in the small Midwest town, save one house left standing. The homeowner of the house spared by the twists and turns of the tornado, stands among the rubble of her neighbors' homes and tells the reporter, "God is so good. Our house was spared." Am I the only one thinking about all the families whose homes were flattened - was God NOT good to them?
I remember a coworker sharing with me about her grandmother who was very ill in a nearby hospital; she was so excited that her grandmother had made it through the night. With great joy she said, "Isn't God good? My grandmother is better this morning."
I rejoiced with her that her grandmother had not passed away. Then I gently and lovingly said, "Even if your grandmother did not make it through the night, God is still good."
When our son was on life-support for 30 hours in 1996, we prayed for healing. But there was no healing. Was God not good to us?
It seems so easy, so natural to speak of His greatness, His goodness, His faithfulness when we experience things going our way.
God is so good - our bid on the house was accepted.
God is so good - my cancer is gone.
God is so good - we get to go to Disneyland.
(I know that last one is lame, but folks, I've heard it!)
I don't want you to think I am insensitive when people recognize and rejoice in God's goodness. I know that every good and perfect gift comes from Him. I know that He is the provider of all that we have and the sustainer of all that we are. I am grateful for His goodness.
But I wonder how many of us look for His goodness, His greatness and His faithfulness in the disappointments and heartbreaks, and the griefs and losses in our lives? God is still the provider and sustainer of those individuals whose homes were lost by the tornado. God is still a good God even if our loved one dies.
This age of technology which allows us to warn communities of severe weather conditions, diagnose and treat major diseases, and in many ways cheat death, also gives us a sense of expecting the good . . . and only the good.
We are amazed when bad things come our way. How could a loving God allow that to happen? Where was God when that plane went into the ocean? Why did their son have to die so young?
And yet, in the midst of our pain and suffering, there is a GOOD GOD who is still the Blessed Controller of All Things. Proverbs 19:21 says,
but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails.
How do we see His goodness in the depth of our struggle? We train our eyes to focus on HIS purpose. He promises to bring glory to Himself and draw people to His Kingdom. He promises to one day reconcile all things to Himself.
The writer of Lamentations knew this. Have you ever thought about the life someone must be living to write a book called Lamentations? That fellow knew suffering and sorrow. He writes in chapter 3, verses 18-26:
Remember my affliction and my wanderings,
the wormwood and the gall!
My soul continually remembers it and is bowed down within me.
But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope:
The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
"The LORD is my portion," says my soul,
"therefore I will hope in him."
The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him,
to the one who seeks him;
it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.