Is God Good?

God is good. All the time. He put a song of praise in this heart of mine.

The words of Don Moen loop through my mind to a toe tapping country beat when life is good. But what about when life is not good?

Where is God when the slaves remain captive? When the sick die? When the lost are not found? Is He still good? What happens to my faith then? What do I do with a God that fails to deliver?

These types of questions rarely lead to satisfying answers as often as they led to deeper, more uncomfortable questions. Is faith based on God giving me what I want? Will I only believe if He explains His actions? Do I trust that God remains when everything else collapses?

These questions led me to Matthew 9:1-8:

“Jesus stepped into a boat, crossed over and came to his own town. Some men brought to him a paralyzed man, lying on a mat. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the man, “Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.” At this, some of the teachers of the law said to themselves, “This fellow is blaspheming!” Knowing their thoughts, Jesus said, “Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts? Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the paralyzed man, “Get up, take your mat and go home.” Then the man got up and went home. When the crowd saw this, they were filled with awe; and they praised God, who had given such authority to man.”

Maybe our problem with uncomfortable questions lies within the box of acceptable responses we try to force upon God.

As if we know better than Him.

The people wanted a physical healing but Jesus recognized sin as the more vital problem. Furthermore, Jesus had reason to address the sin first. The man’s physical healing validated that Jesus had the ability to forgive sins. The plan was bigger than a physical healing.

Can I accept that the plan is bigger?

Maybe the slaves bring God greater glory in captivity. Maybe He chose a spiritual healing over a physical one for a reason unknown to me. And no one is lost to God – He knows exactly where I am and what I need.

Where was God when my walls collapsed? He was with me, in the valley of the shadow. Accomplishing a bigger plan.

God is good. All the time.

What in the World is God Doing?

Sunday morning we began a sermon series that I am anxious to continue. We are working through the book of Habakkuk. (Yup, that’s right – Habakkuk.) Habakkuk is a small Old Testament book packed with content. The prophet questions God about the troubling events he witnesses in his world. God’s mysterious ways puzzle Habakkuk.

Sound familiar?

What I see around me often troubles me. Evil appears to be in the lead and going unpunished and God seems silent. Why do innocent people suffer from natural disasters and at the hands of evil?

“Just because God is silent doesn’t mean He is absent (Pastor Kevin).”

Kevin goes on to support his statement with scripture. God is working. I suggest if any of these questions resonate with you, click here to listen to the sermon on Habakkuk titled, “Why Doesn’t God Stop Bad Things From Happening?”

We only made it part way through the first chapter yesterday, but I read ahead. (Spoiler alert!) By the end of the book, Habakkuk is changed. He learns to wait and trust in God and that God’s justice is far beyond his comprehension. He learns to be content even though he doesn’t always understand.

That’s the kind of contentment I want in my life. Contentment that comes from knowing life is not about me and never has been, contentment that refuses to worry about the things I can’t control or understand. God’s purpose for the world will prevail and I choose to live by faith.

 

Questioning God

I’m reading The Chronicles of the Kings by Lynn Austin and I highly recommend the five book series. In fact, you can currently download book one from Amazon at no charge.

Reading this fictional series based on 2 Chronicles has brought to the surface many questions and Austin offers solid food for thought. This is not Christianity-lite – this is meaty and deep, piercing the heart and forcing the reader to wrestle with God over the big questions.

Like why?

Why did so-and-so die? Why is so-and-so sick? Why is life changing? Why did God allow this tragedy?

There is nothing wrong with questions – God does not shrink from questions. But Austin encourages the reader to ask the right questions. She implies what God does with someone else is none of my business. Why He allows a tragedy to rock my neighbor’s world is between Him and my neighbor. It is not my place to question His actions in someone else’s life.

Austin writes: ask questions, but ask the right ones.

“What does God want to teach me through this suffering? Which of my faults, like pride or self-sufficiency or self-righteousness is He trying to purge from me? Ask which of His eternal qualities, like love compassion and forgiveness, He wants to burn in my heart. Yes, ask questions, ask why he gave you the talents He did, Ask Him what he wants you to do with your life (pg 197-198 from book four, Faith of my Fathers).”

This doesn’t mean everything revolves around me all the time. I think it means that some things are none of my business. I think it means I can and should pray for my friends as they walk through the valley, but God doesn’t have to answer my nosey questions about why He has allowed them to go there. He would rather I ask Him what He is teaching me while walking beside them.

Something to chew on…