Is God actually good?
It’s a question most of us have asked ourselves at some point.
Over the course of a year and half my wife and I were asking ourselves this a lot. Is God good? Because it sure didn’t feel like it. Over the span of 18 months we had a miscarriage, I got Mono (you know, the illness 14 year old girls get!!!!), we had the stillbirth of our son, Samuel, and I developed constant throat pain (after 5 specialists and 4 procedures I found out I have what’s called Muscle Tension Dysphonia. A big name that basically means my throat hurts all the time.) It was a frustrating and discouraging season to say the least.
But it all came to a head when I went to the eye doctor and he told me I had 2 detached retinas!!!! I wanted to puke when I heard those words. 2 detached retinas? That sounds as gross to me as it does to you!
With those words I went into the closest thing to an anxiety attack that have ever experienced. I started to squirm in my seat, got light-headed and wanted to throw up. They took me to emergency surgery and conducted a rather painful and uncomfortable procedure to keep my eyes from going blind over time.
It was miserable. I sat in that chair in disbelief over what was happening. As the surgery went on my anxiety continued to rise. I could feel a mix of a thousand emotions beginning to surface. Emotions that had nothing to do with the red laser consuming my vision.
Instead, I began to hold back tears because I couldn’t stop thinking about all the things that had happened over the previous 18 months. How could God allow all this to happen?
I began thinking about the miscarriage we had to endure and the sickness that kept me from being there for my wife as she mourned. I began to have flashbacks of holding my son as he lay in my hands lifeless, going to the funeral home, taking my family to grief counseling and watching my wife go through a pain no woman should ever have endure.
I began to swell with anger that God had allowed me to have a throat issue right after he put me in a career where I speak for a living. Anger and grief began to consume my mind. My heart was racing and my anxiety surging. I was furious. Furious that God allowed all this to happen. Furious that He put my wife and my kids through this nightmare for 18 months. How dare he put us through this! What did we do to deserve this season of absolute despair?
I felt so alone in that moment.
Sound familiar? My guess is you have had seasons like this. Maybe you are in one right now. One thing after another has led you to wonder… Is God really good?
But something began to happen as I sat there stewing in my anger. While enduring the discomfort of the laser a song popped in my head. A song that I didn’t even like at the time, but a song that was stuck on loop in my mind. The song was Good, Good Father by Chris Tomlin. It’s a song that simply declares that God is a good Father to all of us.
As I began to sing this song something strange began to happen…my heart rate slowed down, my breathing slowed down and the anxiety that was about to bloom into a full-blown panic attack began to subside. Singing that song (That I didn’t even like) gave me a supernatural calm in a moment where I was freaking out.
Why do I share all this with you? Because it leads me back to the question we have all asked ourselves… Is God Good?
Sure ol’ Chris Tomlin’s jam calmed me down – but is the statement “God is good” true?
The reason we all relate to this question is because everyone reading this post has had reason to ask the same thing. You have experienced abuse from a parent, the loss of a child or parent, deception from those you trusted, abandonment from those you loved.
You’re telling me he’s good when my dad dies? He’s good when the doctor says cancer? He’s good when my parents are getting a divorce? He’s good when we endure abuse? He’s good when we get the phone call that brings us to our knees? You’re really telling me he’s a good God?
God’s goodness is not dependent upon the trials we go through. Often these trials showcase the reality of his goodness.
In scripture there is an incredible story about Moses asking God to be with him as he leads the Israelites to the land God had promised them…
14 The Lord replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”
15 Then Moses said to him, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. 16 How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?”
17 And the Lord said to Moses, “I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name.”
18 Then Moses said, “Now show me your glory.”
(Ok God let’s see it. I asked for your presence now show It to me in all your glory. Show me a bright light, raging thunder, or an angelic entourage . Show me your glory!!!!)
But look at how God responds
19 And the Lord said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the Lord, in your presence…” Exodus 33:14-19
When Moses is longing for the power and might of God’s Presence and Glory – God shows it in his goodness.
God’s presence is evidence of his goodness and his goodness is evidence of his presence.
Today you can declare that God is good in the midst of your trial because He is with you in the trial. He is with you while you sit on your bed crying. He is with you when you are in that hospital waiting room. He is with you when you are overwhelmed with all you have to do and when you are frustrated that you got passed over for that raise.
It didn’t hit me till later why that song calmed me. When you read that passage in Exodus – singing of God’s Goodness is in effect declaring his presence. The two are connected.
While all those thoughts in my head were leading me to feel so very alone, the declaration of His goodness was an invitation of His presence. I will forever believe that I calmed down – because God was with me.
I don’t know what you are going through as you read this. Maybe you were just told you have cancer. Maybe your parents just got a divorce. Maybe you were rejected, made fun of and bullied. Maybe you are consumed with grief and mourning the loss of a loved one.
But no matter what you are going through I do know that through life’s darkest moments, saddest outcomes, and loneliest days – God is Good. He’s good because He’s with you.
God is always Good.
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1