Some days are beautiful reminders of the Lord’s goodness. We are overwhelmed by the friendships in our lives, the beauty of creation, the many many good things in our lives and we praise God. We gladly proclaim that “my cup overflows” and that “God is so good!” and that we are “blessed beyond measure.” And we are! The Lord is good and gracious and gives wonderful gifts to His children. It brings glory to Him when we praise Him for these things.
But what about those other days?
Those days when you’re really lonely, when the relationship abruptly ends, when your kids are on your last nerve, when you really hate your job, when the darkness does not lift, when life is just really hard? Can we say the same things in those moments? Can we joyfully proclaim that “my cup overflows” and that “God is good” and that we are “blessed beyond measure”?
Hint: there are two answers.
Yes and no.
Apart from the strength and understanding of God in us, we cannot praise God on these hard days. Naturally, our flesh is weak and it is all to easy to feel hopeless or sad or frustrated or angry in these moments.
But. There is another way of thinking about these difficult times.
What does it mean that God is good?
Psalm 119:68 says of God, “You are good and do good; teach me your statutes.”
Heads up. I’m going to break this verse down in a pretty elementary way, so please don’t feel like I am belittling your intelligence. I just know that, at least for me, it’s not enough to just read that verse. I have to really understand each aspect of it to understand what it is saying about God.
God is good.
And I also know that God is completely in control of all things. All things that happen, happen because in His great power He says so.
God is good and does good.
That means that He literally cannot “do bad.” He only works things out for good.
That means that when family members are sick and in pain, God is doing good. When a beautiful baby is born, God is doing good. When a relationship painfully ends, God is doing good. When the passing test score comes back and the money comes in and house sells and the job offer comes, God is doing good. When the rejection letter comes and the money is not there and the family member dies, God is doing good.
“You are good and do good” – Psalm 119:68
I don’t quite fully understand this.
I still have a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach when I try to say this over a sad and hopeless situation.
But I must unshakably know that this is true. I must continually remind myself that this is true.
Because if I believe that my God is good, through and through, then I must believe that my God only does things that are good, through and through.
What does it mean that we are blessed?
Psalm 1 says of the “blessed” man: “In all that he does, he prospers.”
Charles Spurgeon provides some insightful commentary on the meaning of this verse. It’s a long quote, but well worth reading:
“Blessed is the man who hath such a promise as this. But we must not always estimate the fulfillment of a promise by our own eye-sight. How often, my brethren, if we judge by feeble sense, may we come to the mournful conclusion of Jacob, “All these things are against me!” For though we know our interest in the promise, yet we are so tried and troubled, that sight sees the very reverse of what that promise foretells. But to the eye of faith this word is sure, and by it we perceive that our works are prospered, even when everything seems to go against us.It is not outward prosperity which the Christian most desires and values; it is soul prosperity which he longs for… but even here [in suffering] there is a true prospering, for it is often for the soul’s health that we would be poor, bereaved, and persecuted. Our worst things are often our best things… The trials of the saint are a divine husbandry, by which he grows and brings forth abundant fruit.”
If we are able to reorient our way of thinking about our suffering, we will see that truly in all things, God is good.
Even when we fail that test, when we don’t get that job, when our families are falling apart, when relationships are breaking… God is working for good.
Because of who God is… because we know that we can trust in His unchanging goodness and unending sovereignty and unwavering holiness…we can have hope even in these moments.
Oh but there’s such a bittersweet, heart wrenching feeling in these moments. When grief and confusion are so strong and so real… but at the same time we are beseeching our hearts to believe that somehow, somehow, this is working out for good, that God is getting glory, that He is in control and that that is a good thing.
Because we serve a God who is in the business of redeeming every single painful and heartbreaking moment for a grand and glorious and eternal purpose.
And what a beautiful thing it is to be able to trust in the fruit that He is growing in us because of this light and momentary suffering.
What a beautiful thing it is to be able to trust that this struggle is serving to deepen our trust in Him and forcing us to cling ever more tightly to the promises that we know to be true.
What a beautiful thing that the darkness of the world can serve to press us deeper into the character and goodness of God.
What a beautiful thing that He is over and over again reminding us that (bless the Lord) there are so many sweet things in this world but that He is even sweeter.
What a beautiful thing it is for our sadness and sorrow to show us how gracious the Lord is to uphold and keep us.
What a beautiful thing that this grief and sorrow that we feel… He feels it too.
And bless the Lord that in these moments He graciously takes our doubts and sadness and confusion, comforts us in our sorrow, and helps us to have hope.
He is indeed good.
And we are indeed blessed.
“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