O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good;
For His lovingkindness is everlasting. (1 Chronicles 16:34)
Where does one begin to declare the goodness of the Lord God?
Can you imagine pure goodness, untainted by selfishness or evil in even the slightest degree?
Can you imagine a God who is wholly good in all that He does, in His every plan and purpose, in every motivation of His heart, in every gift that He bestows? That is the goodness of Almighty God, our Heavenly Father!
But, the goodness of God can be difficult for us to reconcile with our experiences. We look around us and see grief and suffering. We experience heartache and loss. We see evil seeming to triumph over good.
Our perspective is limited and our understanding is influenced by our experiences. As a parent and a grandparent, I understand the need for loving discipline, for rules and boundaries. As the writer to the Hebrews observed,
All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness. (Heb. 12:11)
At the moment of discipline, a young child may mistake the appropriate correction of a good and loving parent for mean-spirited, arbitrary demands. But when the child becomes an adult and a parent in their own right, they understand and often adopt the actions of their parents.
In many respects, when we consider our experiences and events in the world around us, our understanding and perspective are like the views of a small child in comparison to the ways of God. By our own reasoning, and based on our limited understanding, we want things to happen a certain way and we often convince ourselves that our way is the way it should be.
But God knows all things (John 16:30). He knows the end from the beginning (Isa. 46:9-10). He knows the thoughts and intentions of every heart (Heb. 4:12). And yes, sometimes He permits things we don’t understand and that may cause us to question His power or His motives.
But God is good, and we can depend on that truth. God is good and His every motive is pure. Lovingkindness and mercy flow out of the wellsprings of goodness in the heart of God. He always has our best interests at heart.
There are times when we experience the goodness of God, and we need to hold onto those moments when His goodness seems to be hidden by our circumstances. But we are not alone. Many have gone before us who testify to the goodness of the Lord, and we have their words to encourage us. Here are some thoughts to ponder,
- O taste and see that the Lord is good; How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him! (Psa. 34:8)
- For the Lord God is a sun and shield; The Lord gives grace and glory; No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly. (Psa. 84:11)
- The Lord is gracious and merciful; Slow to anger and great in lovingkindness. The Lord is good to all, And His mercies are over all His works. (Psa. 145:8-9)
- The Lord is good, A stronghold in the day of trouble, And He knows those who take refuge in Him. (Psa. 1:7)
- And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His (Rom. 8:28)
- Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. (James 1:17)