So often we believe that the measure of God’s goodness is found in a life free of trials and problems. This kind of thinking is simply not biblical. If so, we would have to conclude that the writers of the Old and New Testaments and even Jesus himself fell short of God’s goodness.
Truth is, we cannot measure the goodness of God with problem-free living as if to say that the one who has less problems is experiencing more of God’s goodness. This kind of thinking is pervasive in the minds of so many Christians.
The Goal of God’s Goodness
We need to have a firm conviction that the chief goal of the goodness of God is to conform us to the image of Jesus. Making us more like Jesus is the goal of the Christian life and the foundation of God’s goodness.
Romans 8:29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.
This means that you can be right in the middle of an overwhelming trial and at the same time truly know that God’s goodness is alive and active in your life. His goodness is leading you to look more like Jesus through the trial.
The goodness of God is discovered in the journey of our painful experiences. We must learn to live in the tension of this reality.
This is why we can thank God in all things (not for all things) because if handled rightly, the problem, trial, or tragedy will serve to make us more like the Lord, which is the goal of the Christian life.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
No Second-Class Believer
I want you to know that you are not some kind of second-class believer because you are facing problems on every side. The goodness of God is never measured by the number of problems we face.
I really don’t know where we picked up this thinking. Just look at the life of David, Paul and so many others in scripture. Each faced insurmountable problems. Yet, David (for instance) continually praises God for His goodness (Ps. 31:19).
Problems don’t define us, they refine us (Malachi 3:3). Never forget this.
As long as we stay close to Jesus, walk in humble obedience to His Word, we will go through the valley (Ps. 23:4).
The Fall – Undermining Ones Confidence in the Goodness of God
In the biblical account of the fall of Adam and Eve, it is significant that satan’s* attack was on this dimension of the character of God. It is true satan virtually called God a liar, but the first attack of satan was waged against the attribute of His goodness.
Let’s take a look at the Fall in Genesis 3:1-5:
“Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” 2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’” 4 “You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5 “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
The Fall resulted in satan’s seemingly innocent question intended to undermine Eve’s confidence in the goodness of God. By the time satan finishes, Eve views God as One who is less than good and the forbidden fruit as good.
Once Eve doubted the goodness of God, disobedience was not far behind. If God is not always acting for Eves highest good, why then should she continue to obey Him? In fact, why not act independently of God in seeking her own good and reach for the forbidden fruit?
When satan changed Eve’s perspective of God’s goodness it then became much easier to persuade her to disobey God.
Once we come into agreement that God does not act out of His goodness in every moment of our life then we will seek our own goodness.
We cannot afford to allow this to happen to us. Be unmoved regarding God’s goodness.
How Can We Stay Confident In God’s Goodness When We Face Trials?
1. Stay in agreement that God is good in every season and in every moment in your life. Faith is confidence in the goodness of God.
2. Realize that Jesus is with you. His Word promises you that He will never leave you nor forsake you (Heb. 13:5). So pray.
3. Declare His goodness and be thankful in (not for) the trail. Stay close to God and work hard to keep your heart un-offended.
4. Trust that the problem you are facing, if handled rightly, will make you more like Jesus.
Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
Questions: How are you doing with this? Have you struggled with the tension of problems/trials and the goodness of God? Let’s talk about it.
*Please Note: the name satan is not capitalized. I choose not to acknowledge him, even to the point of violating grammatical rules.