Thursday, February 25, 2016

God Is Good

“The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.” Job 1:21

Have you ever heard a statement like one of these?

     "The test results came back clear. Praise the Lord!"
     "The cancer is gone! God is good."
     "The surgery was successful. God is faithful."
                   
Those are perfectly fine statements. God is good, He is faithful, and we should praise Him.

But statements like these sometimes cause me to pause and think, "What if the test results weren't clear, the cancer wasn't gone, or the surgery wasn’t successful? Would we still praise the Lord? Would God still be good? Would He still be faithful?"

Yes! God would still be good! Yes, He would still be faithful. And yes, we should still praise Him. The goodness of God does not depend on our circumstances. God is worthy of our praise even when our circumstances are not what we would desire.

We are quick to praise the Lord when we receive good news. But are we quick to praise the Lord when we receive bad news?

We should seek to be quick to praise the Lord in all circumstances. Let us proclaim the faithfulness of God in the midst of painful trials. Let us joyfully declare the goodness of God in hard circumstances. Let us have a response like Job that says, “The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD” (Job 1:21). In times of grief and trial, may our responses be those of worship and trust.

There is a good purpose to suffering. Suffering is not, in and of itself, good. Suffering, sickness, and death are the result of the fall and the curse. But in this world under the curse, God uses suffering for His good purposes. "And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).

God is sovereign over suffering. Nothing comes to us outside of His control. This means that any trial we face is something that has first passed through the hand of a loving Father. He permits it for our good. God is good and He does good (Psalm 119:68), and we can trust that anything He allows into our life is something for which He has a good purpose.

What are some of the good purposes of suffering?

If we know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, we do not suffer for nothing. Every trial we face has a good purpose. We can trust that God is faithful in the midst of suffering and that He is good even when we don’t understand. God is worthy of our praise in the midst of the hardest of circumstances. He is good. All the time.

You have dealt well with your servant,
    O Lord, according to your word.
Teach me good judgment and knowledge,
    for I believe in your commandments.
Before I was afflicted I went astray,
    but now I keep your word.
You are good and do good;
    teach me your statutes.
The insolent smear me with lies,
    but with my whole heart I keep your precepts;
their heart is unfeeling like fat,
     but I delight in your law.
It is good for me that I was afflicted,
    that I might learn your statutes.
The law of your mouth is better to me
    than thousands of gold and silver pieces. 
Psalm 119: 65-72

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