God is good–what does that even mean?

God is good

“God is good,” is a popular cliche that is tossed around like an after thought. “I had a really, horrible, no good, bad day complain, complain, complain,….but God is good!” It’s often a phrase we use to “sanctify” a conversation where we just spewed massive chunks of heart vomit and felt guilty about the gossip and/or ungodly ranting that just erupted out of our mouths. It can also be a spiritual bandaid slapped on the back end of a conversation after our girlfriend just unloaded the depths of sorrows she’s been sinking in, and we don’t know what else to say.

The statement, “God is good,” is a great truth, but I think the phrase gets abused and over used. I think if we had a better grasp of what the goodness of God was and feasted on it day by day, moment by moment, we’d have a lot less ungodly spewing and more things to say to a heart in need other than just “God is good.”

“O taste and see that the Lord is good; How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!” Ps. 34:8. I’ve often wondered: HOW do we taste the goodness of God? This is the memory verse for our church family this month, so I wanted to write about some ways to understand and embrace this concept.

Redefine goodness in your vocabulary. I typically use that word to mean something that makes me happy, or elicits those positive emotions that give you a buzz of *warm fuzzies*. You know, like a really tasty meal -“that cupcake was sooooo good,” a sweet time with one of my children or husband or bestie!

When we think of God and His goodness, we have to take our framework for the word “good” outside the realm of cupcakes and coffee into the spiritual domain, to the unseen world, to the sphere of morality. Good goes way way beyond your feelings, and “happy thoughts” to something much greater, more meaningful. I love A.W. Tozer’s definition of the goodness of God:

“The goodness of God is that which disposes Him to be kind, cordial, benevolent, and full of good will toward men. He is tenderhearted and of quick sympathy, and His unfailing attitude toward all moral beings is open, frank and friendly. By His nature He is inclined to bestow blessedness and He takes holy pleasure in the happiness of His people.”

God is good.God’s goodness is essential to our understanding of Him. Tozer says His goodness is different than His holiness or righteousness.  We need to rightly understand God’s goodness because failing to see or denying His goodness corrupts our thinking and moral judgement. In other words, when we are not acknowledging that God is good, we are thinking incorrectly and stripping morality of its place in the world. His goodness is the force behind all His blessings towards us. God created us because He felt good in His heart and He redeemed us for the same reason.

Every good and perfect gift is from above. And He is constantly giving us good things, even if we don’t see it. Sometime we have to disconnect our emotions from our perspective. We have to step back and look at the bigger picture to understand the good in what is happening. Trials teach us that. We have to remember that good doesn’t equal easy or fun and hard doesn’t equal bad or difficult.

My natural self would rather escape anything slightly uncomfortable…exercise, scrubbing tiles, being extra kind to an abrasive person…. But refocusing on God’s goodness shows me that whatever trial I am passing through, He is using it to make me more holy. That is vastly better-good in fact– rather than being left in my sin. We normally associate good with those things that are easy, fun, make you do the happy dance.  Just because something makes me happy, that doesn’t necessarily make it good! That’s one thing our culture has twisted. The world will tell you: If you feel good about it, then it’s good for you.

We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God. Thomas Watson summarizes this idea, “All the various dealings of God with his children do by a special providence turn to their good. ‘All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth unto such as keep his covenant’ (Psalm 25:10) If every path has mercy in it, then it works for good.”

God is good.We may not see the merciful part of having a child with disabilities, or having to uproot our lives and move across the country, but God infuses grace into our hearts for each moment as it comes, thus giving strength to accept the situation, and ultimately experience greater joy in our hearts because we are responding faithfully to the Lord. When we love him and obey Him no matter what, God honors that choice. That is good! God is good even with the extra struggles that enter our lives because He knows the difficult circumstance will produce sweeter fruit in our hearts – and that is a taste of His goodness for us.

Remember: everything that God brings your way He is using and working for your good and comes from His goodness. He delights in blessing us, in bringing us that with gives us true happiness. In His infinite wisdom, only He knows what good really looks like in our life. Sometimes we need to trust Him beyond our feelings, beyond our puny finite perspective. He has all our eternal happiness in view, not just our momentary, human gratification. God’s goodness is not dependent on our own limited understanding of ‘good’; God’s goodness is concerned with what is good food for our souls and will be eternally satisfying.

One of the best ways we can taste the goodness of God is to look for it in the Scriptures and look for it in your daily ins and outs of life. As you read your Bible, take note of all the good things God does in the passage, all the footprints of His kindness, mercy, and grace towards mankind.  Then, throughout the day, be alert to the daily drops of goodness He brings. You will see it in a kind word of encouragement, an answered prayer, the faithfulness of a friend, etc. Once your eyes are alert and open, you will see God’s goodness everywhere!

Please share: How has God been good to you lately?

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