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About a week ago, my daughter and I were talking about a few young moms I know who are battling cancer when she asked, “So, in light of all this, is God still good?”
What a powerful question. We talked a little bit, I gave her some off the cuff thoughts, but I told her that I wanted to take some time to give her a really well-thought out answer to this question that is oh so deep. What I didn’t know was how important my answer would become in my own life this week. I love how God works like that!
When my kids ask me a question like this, I head right to Bible Gateway or to Bible Hub, which I have recently been told about and love, to do my research.
I’m no Bible scholar, but I am a student of the Bible and a student of spiritual giants. Through these two resources, I can say that God is still good, and here’s why.
The world is full of hard, trying, gut-wrenching pain that wounds us to our core. Pain often shakes the fundamentals of our faith and calls our very beliefs about God into question.
As my daughter and I spoke of the unthinkable journeys that some are being asked to walk through right now, we both had three main attributes of God that we wanted to examine. If you believe the Bible to be truth as I do, then you can find wisdom in these words that are not so much my own, but that come straight from the Bible itself.
In spite of the trials, challenges, and pain we experience, the first reason that I know God is still good is because He is still fully capable. The same God who created the universe, who parted the Red Sea, who raised people from the dead through Jesus, and who still performs miracles today is fully capable of meeting us in our pain. He is capable of carrying us through the valley and fully capable of even removing us from the valley if He so chooses. He did this repeatedly throughout the Bible.
The fact is, we live in a world that is not the world God created. The world we now live in is rooted in sin, and for that reason, the things we experience including the pain we experience are not part of His plan. Although God is capable, we are living apart from His design because of the choices that we make. Until we are called home, this is the reality of life on this side of heaven. Pain, struggles, and distress are simply a part of that reality as well.
It was a struggle, but I know that God is fair. I say it was a struggle because I have all of these questions and thousands more like them: How is it fair that the family down the street lost their son in a car accident last month? How is it fair that hardworking people lose their job? How is it fair that people like myself are given a quiver full of children while others struggle to become parents?
When bad things happen to us it is so easy to ask, “Why me?” isn’t it? I know I do. Sometimes, we even question whether God is punishing us for something whether it is something we feel or something that someone who is trying to comfort us points out. We also wonder what God is trying to teach us through our trials.
In the Bible, God doesn’t just come out of nowhere and punish the wicked with a heavy hand. He gives warnings, often several warnings, to change course. I recently read a quote which talked of this very thing. When asking if God is fair when some seem to struggle while others seem to live on Easy Street, I came to realize that God saying “no” is oftentimes God saying, “try a different way,” “change course,” or even, “STOP!” I like this idea so much.
We also know that in the book of Job, God repeatedly stated that Job was not being punished for his misbehavior. Through this we see that at times we suffer pain and hardship because we ignore His repeated warnings to change course, but there are also times that we do nothing at all.
God is fair, but life isn’t, and sin isn’t either. God is fair because He tells us and He shows us over and over again that in this life we will have trouble, but He also assures us that He has overcome the world. Jesus did it once, and He will do it again.
The third reason that I know God is still good is because we see evidence of His power all around us. Earthquakes, hurricanes, even tornadoes and so many other magnificent things, both good and bad, that showcase His power are everywhere. We know from the Bible that He brings fire, He brings rain, He turns water into wine, He brings plagues of frogs, flies, and even the angel of death. We know He is all powerful, but why do we still live with pain? Why do we still struggle?
We learn from Job that God grieves with us. He cries with us, He feels anger, and He feels disgust with what we as humans do to ourselves, to each other, and to the world around us. He has the power to rescue us in the here and now, but there are times, many times, that He just doesn’t.
Death, disease, parents who bury their children, and so many unthinkable things…we live with all of this, but we know that through the sending of His son, Jesus, that He plans to rescue us. Death, despair, pain, suffering…although these things may “win” for now, in the end, we know that Jesus wins. For this reason, we are called to live in faith, to live in hope knowing that one day, we will all be free of pain. We will only know joy, elation, and love.
In summary, God is still good no matter what we face, but we have to accept knowing that we live in a fallen world means that it and we are susceptible to sinful things that are not according to God’s original plan. We have to accept that not everything will go according to our plan. In fact, many things won’t. We have to accept that as in Job’s case, sometimes trials, struggles, and pain are simply beyond our human understanding.
But how can we live with these struggles, these trials, and this pain, you ask? We live in spite of these things knowing that God is in control of it all no matter how it appears. God is good, even when He looks like He is not. He simply asks us to trust that He is good, which is what faith is all about.