Well, at least don’t tell me that when it’s attached to something like:
You got the job! (God is good!)
You closed on the house! (God is good!)
That car barely missed you at the intersection! (God is good!)
You’re carrying twins! (God is good!)
See where I am going with this? Because the reality is that if you believe God is good, then He’s good all the time.
Like when you lose the job. Or the house is foreclosed. Or your car is totaled. Or the twins die.
And while I believe that to be true, because I believe the nature of God is unchanging…would you ever in a million years tell someone who just lost their baby to cancer: “Isn’t God sooooo good, though? Wow, didn’t He do it right?”
No. You wouldn’t. (And shouldn’t!)
Related: When Grief Takes Work And Time
I have such a hard time with people saying, “God is good!” in response to whatever good things happen to them. Found a parking space, YAY GOD! Got a raise, YAY GOD! It’s a great hair day, YAY GOD!
As if it is sort of an obligatory thanks to an intangible entity in a bottle making all the good things happen.
Because for those of us who have had to hear, “I’m sorry, there’s no heartbeat,” or “There’s nothing we can do,” or even, “We’re sorry, we have to let you go,” what are we supposed to think?
God isn’t good?
I look at so many people I know from the last eight years—this eight years we’ve navigated life after losing our children and having to figure out where our faith and our reality converge. I know many who just stopped believing in God at all, and you know what? I totally don’t blame them. I hate it for them, because I know what hope my faith brings me, but I honestly get where they are coming from.
Because when we, those who claim the good news of Christ, go around making Him seem as if He’s only good (or praised) when life is going good—we alienate so many people. So many desperate people.
I’m not saying that the opposite of “God is good,” in response to something good happens means we should go around reminding people to ‘praise in the storm,’ when their worlds are crumbling. Gracious, NO, do NOT do that either.
Related: There’s Always A Choice
Jesus didn’t tell Lazarus’s sisters to buck up and give thanks as their brother lay dead.
He cried. With them. He knew He was about to raise Lazarus from the dead and still? He wept for his friend and with his friend’s family because it hurt. Death hurts.
I’m also not saying that God does not deserve praise and gratitude and thanks for everything we have, are and that He does in this world.
I’m just saying that I’ve had to reconcile God being good despite the things happening in my life. Despite the coffins and the beating hearts no longer beating…the cancers that stole and the lives forever changed in this hard world, I’ve had to figure out how God is good when you get to take your child home and my son is dead in the ground.
It’s not been easy, and if our calling in life is truly to love God and love one another…we can’t do it without being real. Honest about life being hard and that we will be heartbroken.
Honest that God isn’t just good because we get the job or the new house or the miraculous healing (those always sting the most with me)…He’s good because He grieves with us and mourns with us and walks with us as He redeems our pain and heals our hearts.
Tell people that, when you want them to know God is good. Tell them that your world was shattered and He picked you up and kept you breathing. Tell them that you didn’t know how you’d face another minute and He gave you the strength to do so. Tell them you stood in church daring God to heal your heart, crying in the most pain and agony you’ve ever felt…and He gave you unimaginable strength and healing.
Tell them that He still does that. Daily.
That’s the God people need to know. The everlasting, enduring One, regardless of the circumstance.
Photo: Ben White/Unsplash