When bad things happen, people ask…
- “If God is all-powerful, why did He allow this to happen?”
- “If God is all-loving, how can He sit back and watch people suffer?”
- “If God is all-knowing, didn’t He see this coming?”
Those are important questions to consider, and not always easy to answer. I believe there are answers to those questions. But rather than start with those questions, we should consider some other questions first. We must ask ourselves…
- “Is God in charge?”
- “Is God at work?”
- “Is God good?”
The Bible tells us that God is in charge, He is at work, and He is inherently good. Everything He does is good. Even when difficult times come in our lives, God is at work. He is good. We don’t always know why He allows certain situations, but we trust that He is at work, He is in charge, and He is good. The following two quotes always encourage me:
When you observe a situation, and you can clearly see one thing that the Lord is doing in the situation, you can know that there are a thousand things behind the scenes that the Lord is doing in and through that situation that you probably don’t see yet. (my paraphrase of a John Piper quote)
When you can’t trace God’s hand, you can trust His heart. (Charles Spurgeon)
So let’s consider the question, “Is God good?” Another way to ask the question is, “Is Jesus good?” because Jesus was God in the flesh. Here are three observations:
1. Before you meet Jesus, you don’t know if He is good.
43 The next day He decided to leave for Galilee. Jesus found Philip and told him, “Follow Me!” 44 Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the hometown of Andrew and Peter. 45 Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the One Moses wrote about in the Law ( and so did the prophets): Jesus the son of Joseph, from Nazareth!” 46 “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Nathanael asked him. “Come and see,” Philip answered. 47 Then Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward Him and said about him, “Here is a true Israelite; no deceit is in him.” 48 “How do you know me?” Nathanael asked. “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you,” Jesus answered. 49 “Rabbi,” Nathanael replied, “You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” (John 1:43-49)
2. When you are investigating Jesus, you might think He is good.
18 A ruler asked Him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 19 “Why do you call Me good?” Jesus asked him. “No one is good but One —God. 20 You know the commandments: Do not commit adultery; do not murder; do not steal; do not bear false witness; honor your father and mother. ” 21 “I have kept all these from my youth,” he said. 22 When Jesus heard this, He told him, “You still lack one thing: Sell all that you have and distribute it to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow Me.” 23 After he heard this, he became extremely sad, because he was very rich. (Luke 18:18-23)
3. When you know Jesus personally, you know that He is good.
- He is good, and He is God, and He guides us and cares for us in good ways, just like a shepherd with His sheep. 11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 The hired man, since he is not the shepherd and doesn’t own the sheep, leaves them and runs away when he sees a wolf coming. The wolf then snatches and scatters them. 13 This happens because he is a hired man and doesn’t care about the sheep. 14 “I am the good shepherd. I know My own sheep, and they know Me, 15 as the Father knows Me, and I know the Father. I lay down My life for the sheep. 16 But I have other sheep that are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will listen to My voice. Then there will be one flock, one shepherd. 17 This is why the Father loves Me, because I am laying down My life so I may take it up again. 18 No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down on My own. I have the right to lay it down, and I have the right to take it up again. I have received this command from My Father.” (John 10:11-18)
- Because He is good, He works things out for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. 28 We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)
- Because He is good, and His Holy Spirit lives in us, He produces goodness in us. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, we must also follow the Spirit. (Galatians 5:22-25)
- Developing goodness in us is a process over time, and the more He develops goodness and other qualities in us the more we are becoming like Him. And the more we realize that He is good. 3 His divine power has given us everything required for life and godliness through the knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness. 4 By these He has given us very great and precious promises, so that through them you may share in the divine nature, escaping the corruption that is in the world because of evil desires. 5 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with goodness, goodness with knowledge, 6 knowledge with self-control, self-control with endurance, endurance with godliness, 7 godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. 8 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they will keep you from being useless or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 1:3-8)