Is God good?
This question might be the most important question you can answer. My guess is that your gut reaction is to say, “Absolutely!! God is good!”
And that is the Christian answer, the one we have been taught all of our lives. Of course God is good. No questions. No reason to debate it.
But how do you explain God is good to the woman whose husband just left her and their kids for another woman?
Or how do you explain that God is good to the child who lost his father suddenly and unexpectedly?
Or how do you explain that God is good to the children struggling to make sense of life in light of their father’s abuse?
Or how do you explain that God is good to the family who just lost their mother to cancer?
Or how do you explain that God is good to the man who has lost his job and doesn’t have the money to feed his family?
Or how do you explain that God is good to the family whose loved one is in the hospital dying from Covid and they can’t be with him?
Or how do you explain that God is good to the family who has lost their child because of the negligent actions of a drunk driver?
How do you explain that God is good in a world that is filled with pain, loss, devastation?
Jesus promised us that in this world we will have trouble—and He wasn’t kidding when He said it. But that wasn’t the end of the story. He told us we would have troubles so we could have peace. He told us we would have troubles so we would know that just because we believe in Him, we are not insulated from the troubles of this world. He told us ahead of time that we would have troubles so we would be able to know He is still present, He is still good, even in the midst of our greatest pain and suffering. He told us we would have trouble so we would know that He will overcome even our greatest pain and loss.
I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
I know the good Christian answer is to give a quick yes to our question about whether God is good. However, I don’t want the good Christian answer. I want you to look deep inside, to see if you truly believe He is good. How do you know He is good? Can you truly answer with a deep, resounding “YES!! God is good always!”?
If you cannot give a confident yes to this question, I encourage you to look deeply into this question in the midst of your pain. Search the scripture. Look at your life. See if you can find where God was working, how He created beauty out of your brokenness. Reflect on key periods in your life to find God’s hand, even in the midst of your pain.
Answering the question, “Is God good?” might be the single most important question for you to wrestle with in the midst of your pain. When you can confidently answer yes, you will find these things to be true.
If God is good, His heart breaks with you in the midst of your pain. God does not rejoice over your suffering. He weeps with you…just as Jesus wept over the death of His friend Lazarus in John 11.
If God is good, He is near you in your pain. He hasn’t left you alone to suffer, but instead is standing nearby, seeking to rescue you.
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed. Psalm 34:18
If God is good, He is ready to comfort you, to heal your wounds so you can better understand the depths of His love and grace. He wants to pour out His goodness and comfort over you so you experience the comforting love of the Father.
We are confident that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in the comfort God gives us. 2 Corinthians 1:7
If God is good, He has a purpose for your pain. You may not see it today. You may not see it tomorrow. But, God always has a purpose for our pain. Maybe it is to conform you to His image.
Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. James 1:2-4
Maybe His purpose is so you can help others, so you can develop a passion for others suffering in a similar manner.
He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. 2 Corinthians 1:4
Or maybe it is to bring you to a place of total dependence where you realize just how much you need the Father. Maybe your suffering is a gateway to a deeper intimacy with the Father.
You may not see the purpose now, but in His time He will reveal to you how the suffering is for your good and His glory.
If God is good, He will bring something beautiful from the ashes. God promises us that all things eventually work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). It may be hard to see in the midst of your suffering, but one day you will see the little miracles that are happening all around you.
God tells us that He is in the process of putting the old behind you and creating something new. And when God creates, it is good—always good. He takes the old and makes it brand new and beautiful.
But forget all that—it is nothing compared to what I am going to do. For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? Isaiah 43:18-19a
He will one day turn your mourning to laughter and replace with your pain with a joyous blessing.
To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. Isaiah 61:3
If God is good, He will redeem your pain in His time. God is the God of resurrection—the very crux of our Christian faith. Without the resurrection, Christianity is just like every other religion. But, because of the resurrection, we can have the eternal hope that all things can be made new.
Whatever your pain, He will redeem it. Hold onto the hope of the resurrection, the hope of a God who makes all things beautiful in His time. He will one day repay your pain with double blessings.
Come back to the place of safety, all you prisoners who still have hope! I promise this very day that I will repay two blessings for each of your troubles. Zechariah 9:12
Can I just tell you that I have found the Father to be good—even with all of the pain and suffering we have endured? In the midst of my pain, He has always been present. He has gently nudged me toward Him. He has relentlessly pursued me. He has shown me that at the core of my being, I am His.
And He has shown me that He is good—always and forever, no matter what troubles this life brings my way.
His goodness is my anchor in the midst of my pain and suffering. Because I can answer the question, “Is God good?” affirmatively—without an ounce of doubt—it changes the way I view my suffering, the pain that is so real in my life. Because God is good, I can face whatever life throws my way knowing that my pain will not be in vain.
I have a quote hanging on my wall that I repeat often:
If you can’t see His hand, trust His heart.
God’s heart toward us is good. We may not see His hand in the midst of our pain, working to bring about His purposes in our lives. But, when we can’t see His hand moving to change our circumstances, we must learn to trust His heart, to trust that because He is good He will show up in His time.
And that, my friends, is the definition of faith. Trusting His heart when we can’t see His hand.