"You are good and do only good. Teach me your decrees."
Psalm 119:68 NLT
One of my favorite descriptions of God is that he is good. I like the word good. It's pleasant. It makes me smile and feel all warm and cozy inside. Good is good. But when I really start thinking about what it means practically for us that God is good and that He does good, I find myself wondering what that word really means. Like, what does "good" mean and why does it matter to us?
1. Good is not something God has; it is who He is. He IS good. And if good is just who He is, it doesn't change from situation to situation. Think about it like this: I am an American. Whether I find myself in Spain, Australia or 'Merica, I'm still American. It's who I am and doesn't change depending on where I am or how I'm feeling. Same with God. He is good. He's good on our really happy days or on our really crappy days. He's good in your country and He's good on the other side of the globe. He's just good. Period.
2. The original meaning of good in the Bible is good, pleasant, excellent, and a few of my favorites: kind, understanding and right (or upright). If God is always good, that means He is always kind, always understanding and always right. You may ask yourself, "Okay, but what about all the mess I've been through? None of that seemed good to me!" As someone who went through a decade of panic attacks and the loss of her daughter, I get that. It's a very valid question. What I always hang my hat on is that God got me through my pain; he upheld me, and I am a joyful woman who still loves Jesus today. The situations were awful, but God was still good. He was faithful to get me through it and bring good out of it. I'm where I am today because a good God took care of me then and continues to do so. . .even when my situations are "bad".
3. If God is good, all He can do is good. Always. He's acting out of his nature and His nature is good. So we can rest in our position as His children because, even better than the best parent in the world, He's acting on our behalf. We don't have to worry that He's waiting for us to misstep so He can squash us or that He's like that awful teacher we all had who gave us excruciating projects because he seemed to just find it fun to watch us struggle. That is not God. He is kind, loving, benevolent, and He is acting out of those qualities. He's always acting in our best interest. We can bank on that, and in trusting that, we can be more peaceful, powerful, contented people.
So, I have two questions for you today to ponder and pray about.
Where have you seen the goodness of God in your life? How about lately?
Where was God in your toughest struggle?
If you'll ask God to reveal the answers to you, I think you'll be amazed to see how active He is in loving you intentionally, intimately and well.
You'll notice Psalm 119:68 ends with "Teach me your decrees." I think the best way to respond to discovering God's goodness in our lives is to ask Him to make us a reflection of Himself: to help us to live our lives as a thank offering to Him. So, I'll do that right here for us.
God, thank you that you are good. Sometimes when we look around at this world, we can become disheartened with the evil and darkness. Help us to see your goodness even in the midst of that. Help us see the help you send the orphan, the provision you give the homeless, the healing you give the wounded, and the afterlife you give the faithful. Thank you for carrying us through our toughest days. Please give us eyes to see where you were in all of it so we can praise you and live our lives in thanks to your goodness and faithfulness. In Jesus' name, Amen.