By Jodi Matthews
God is good all the time and all the time God is good. Do we really believe that? We often hear this as we go along in our lives and for many, the understanding that God is good doesn’t always mean my day is going good or that I even feel good or even that my circumstances are good. There is a foundation of a rock that we stand on, knowing that whether I am shouting from the mountain or trudging through the valley the character of who God always remains good. God loves me. God has a desire for my wholeness beyond just settling for the status quo.
God doesn’t always come across to me as good especially when I am praying for an answer of deliverance from death, disease or deep emotional struggle. When seasons like these have barged their way into my life, I often have cried out to the Lord, “I know you are good, so deliver me from this prison of pain.” I often cry Lord, “Is this pain really good?” I can remember praying for a close family member, not getting the answers I so longed for, not feeling like God was responding to me in goodness. Every week at Urban Vision Kids club, I would be sharing the good news with over 150 children reminding them how God raised Lazarus from the dead and how He made the lame walk and blind see, but what about me? What about my miracle? Do you hear me? Do you see me? I want to experience your goodness, but the pain is shouting louder than the truth that I know is in you!
In the Bible, John the Baptist felt that way when he literally sat in a prison cell after he had done everything to prepare the way for Jesus the Messiah. In John’s prison of pain, he felt alone and discouraged because following Jesus led him to this place. A place that didn’t feel too good, and let’s keep it real, it wasn’t good. That is why he asked his messengers to go ask Jesus if He was the One, the Messiah? John knew who Jesus was because he spent his whole life introducing people to Jesus. But sitting in that prison with death looming over him, John needed to be reminded of God’s goodness despite his circumstances. Jesus did not get put out by John’s discouragement. In fact, He said there was no one greater than John born of a woman. He made sure to tell Johns messengers to go back and tell John that the lame walk and the blind see and people are responding to the gospel. In Luke 7:23 we find the encouragement we need to press through the mess to see God’s goodness.
Blessed is the one who is not offended by me……. Jesus knew where John was and that His days were numbered in His earthly body. However, somehow God was letting John know that yes in this life we face difficulties and pain beyond what seems hard to bare. Yet even in the pain, even in the unanswered prayer, even when I cannot feel his goodness, there is a plan in Him greater than the prison of pain we find ourselves in. The question is can we really trust him and not get offended because of the road he allows us to walk. The Road, no matter how treacherous, will always lead to His good and His glory somehow and in some way, because He is God and we are not.
Romans 8:28 (NASB)
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 purpose.
John the Baptist was not forgotten; in fact, in the heart of Jesus he was loved and honored. You are not forgotten either. Jesus is saying, “Don’t be offended by what I allow you to experience in this painful world. Know that there is a greater glory, a greater purpose, even a greater good when all is said and done.” Jesus asks us too with love and understanding, “So can you trust me that I am good even when it seems as if I am not?”
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
for his steadfast love endures forever. Psalms 136:1
Pray this to the Lord!
Though I walk in the midst of trouble,
you preserve my life;
you stretch out your hand against the wrath of my enemies,
and your right hand delivers me.
The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me;
your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever.
Do not forsake the work of your hands. Psalm 138:7-8 (ESV)
Yes, so I can say God is good all the time and all the time God is good!