Friday, March 2, 2012

Do You Believe He's Good...ALL the Time?

God is good. All the time. All the time. God is good.

This phrase was often chanted during my college years at chapel or various religious life activities with great vigor and excitement. It's a phrase I've often heard ever since in church or among other Christian friends. It's a phrase I've been known to say myself here and there, but to be honest, I didn't always believe it nor feel like saying it. It's a phrase easy to say when things are going well, but hard to believe when things are crappy. It's one of the chief frustrations or questions of my faith journey...Is He? Is God really good...all the time? What about when babies die? What about when tornadoes destroy homes? What about when an adoption paper gets lost in the shuffle again in Haiti? What about when affairs happen and marriages crumble? What about when cancer strikes? Is God good then too?

The easy "Sunday School" answer to that question is "yes". Yes, even in those moments, God is good. It doesn't feel like He is, but nonetheless, He is. The phrase really is True--God is good. All the time. All the time. God is good. The hard part of that easy answer is believing it. Despite God being good, what isn't good is our lack of faith to believe that Truth to the core of our beings. In those moments or seasons of life where everything is just too much to carry, we tend to turn our thoughts away from what we really do know is True and base our beliefs instead on our emotions and feelings at the time. Mainly, we do this because it's easier. Recalling Truth that, let's face it, many of us don't have memorized from God's Word is hard to do because it requires us to pick up a Bible, find it, and allow it to speak to us. That's HARD work when you are feeling physically, emotionally, or spiritually spent. Basing our beliefs, instead, on our emotions in the moment is fast, easy, and satisfying--even if it only is satisfying our need for sympathy instead of healing our hurts at the root. This is where everything can go very wrong. Basing our opinions on feelings or emotions can wreck havoc because those are constantly changing. If we want to believe God is good to the core of our being ALL the time, we have to begin viewing our faith of God's goodness NOT on what is happening around us or how we feel about what is happening around us, but on the constant Truth, proven in the Bible, that He IS good.

Let's look at it this way--you, a huge fan, are watching your favorite football team in the last seconds of a very close game where they simply need one touchdown to win. The play has begun and in that moment you feel elated because the perfect pass to win the game was just thrown down the field. The very next moment you feel incredibly angry and completely disappointed because the ball went right through the player's hands and was intercepted by the opposing team causing your team to lose the game. You are frustrated and pretty hot for the rest of the night, but the next morning, you put on your jersey again claiming, "They'll get 'em next time!" If you based your support to that football team on your emotions during that one game, you would have loved them, hated them, and ultimately walked away from the game hating them because they made a mistake and lost the game. But, because you still know the team is ultimately good even though they unfortunately experienced one bad play in one game, you can walk away not allowing your emotions to rule your overall outlook of the team. You know the truth about the team--they are good--despite the one flubbed up play. You still put on the jersey to show your support the next day. Too bad we don't view God like we do football teams, huh...this would be so much easier.

For some reason it's easy for us to remember the bigger picture with a football team, but when it comes to our faith, we fail to do the same thing. We listen to our emotions and feelings with every event in life as our judge on whether God is good or whether He left us hanging. We fail to trust Him to be good despite the circumstances of life around us. Just like that football team, there are things happening around us we fail to acknowledge when we are basing everything on emotions. In the football example, we got so caught up with the fact that the team lost the game we forgot to acknowledge there was another team opposing them and ultimately making them lose the game. We initially get angry at our own players for messing up the play when in actuality, we could also be just as angry at the opposing team for their part in our team's loss. That opponent was doing everything within their power to stop our team from winning that game. That opponent wanted all of us as fans to walk away disappointed and deflated. That opponent wanted to dominate everything and come out a victor themselves. They were willing to fight for what they our expense.

Parallel that back to life. In situations of life where things don't end up going like we expected them to go or hoped for them to go, we too often forget we also have an opponent. Not unlike that opponent on the football field, our opponent (Satan) has a lot to do with the losses of our life. He, with his team of evil players, are there to see to it we do not come out victorious. They want us to be angry and walk away from the field of life discouraged, disappointed, and deflated. They are willing to do whatever it takes to see us lose. They are willing to fight for what they want...and it is not for goodness.

You see, when I work out of my emotions, I quickly place that blame on God because I am looking to Him for answers and feel like He has gone silent. In actuality, my emotions are so loud in those moments, I have a hunch God is actually not silent, but just can't be heard because I'm allowing my emotions to be louder. I have a feeling when I think He's gone silent, He's probably just calmly saying, "Angie, I'm right here. I'm Good. I haven't left. I'm Good. I'm aching with you. I'm Good. Rely on me. I'm Good. Run to me. I'm Good. I hate this fallen world just as much as you do. I'm Good. You can trust me to fight this with you. I'm Good. Satan can not win this war, Angie. I'm Good...I'm the Victor...and I'm on YOUR team."It truly is my choice to silence my emotions long enough in those hard and painful places of life to hear that calm, steady, good voice of the One who loves me and place the blame on the proper team.

I have been challenged of late to revamp my view of crappy life situations and therefore on my faith that God is good all the time. I've been challenged to recommit my belief system and my faith to the core of what I know is Biblically True instead of on my emotions. In those moments when life is hard, I can not help but want to blame something (like I mentioned in my post here). But instead of blaming God (and therefore deeming Him "not good"), which I tend to do if I'm working out of my emotions, I'm being challenged to rightfully blame my opponent instead. Putting the blame where it rightfully belongs amazingly and rightfully releases God to always be good! The Truth I HAVE to remember is God is on my team...Satan is my opponent. The Truth is God wants me to be joyful, to be at peace, to love, to be blessed, to be free, to be the victor...Satan is the one who wants me hurt, defeated, worried, sick, fearful, and angry. I can not blame God and therefore deem Him "not good" for things He literally could never do. If God is literally "love" and "good" then there can be nothing bad in Him and no resulting "bad deeds" done by Him. All of the evil, sadness, and hurt in this life has to come from Satan and the results of this sinful, fallen world...not from God. I have committed to remember in those hard moments of life that it is not God who wants me, or anyone for that matter, to suffer, be destroyed, or feel like the loser in life...that is all from Satan. God is the One fighting for all of those hardships in life to be defeated. He is fighting for us and for everything good for us. I have to choose to believe that Truth over my erratic emotions of the hard moments.

So, what about you? Are you with me in this new found quest to reclaim God's Goodness? Are you ready to believe to the core of your being that God is who He says He is...a Good God? Are you ready to listen to that calm, constant, comforting Voice inside you instead of your loud, ever-changing emotions and feelings? Are you ready to tell God "Thank You for being Good to me and for fighting for me to experience Your Goodness in this life"? If I answered those questions, I would say, "Oh YES! I am so beyond ready for this. I NEED this. I don't think I could have gone through one more blow in life without folding under the pressure of my questions and doubts. I NEEDED God to solidify His Goodness in my heart and I am forever grateful He has." I pray you will allow Him to do that for you in this moment too.

For those of you needing Scripture right in this moment to validate the Truth that God has come for you to experience His goodness...
  • "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." -John 10:10
  • "Then Jesus cried out, 'When a man believes in me, he does not believe in me only, but in the one who sent me. When he looks at me, he sees the one who sent me. I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.'" -John 12:44-46
For those of you needing Scripture right in this moment to validate the Truth that God, Himself, is Good...
  • "And the LORD said, 'I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the LORD, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.'" -Ex 33:19
  • "Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever." -I Chron. 16:34
  • "The trumpeters and singers joined in unison, as with one voice, to give praise and thanks to the LORD. Accompanied by trumpets, cymbals and other instruments, they raised their voices in praise to the LORD and sang: “He is good; his love endures forever.” -II Chron. 5:13
  • “Now arise, O LORD God, and come to your resting place, you and the ark of your might. May your priests, O LORD God, be clothed with salvation, may your saints rejoice in your goodness." -II Chron. 6:41
  • "When all the Israelites saw the fire coming down and the glory of the LORD above the temple, they knelt on the pavement with their faces to the ground, and they worshiped and gave thanks to the LORD, saying, “He is good; his love endures forever.” -II Chron. 7:3
  • "With praise and thanksgiving they sang to the LORD: “He is good; his love to Israel endures forever.” And all the people gave a great shout of praise to the LORD, because the foundation of the house of the LORD was laid." -Ezra 3:11
  • "Do not turn me over to the desire of my foes, for false witnesses rise up against me, breathing out violence. I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD." -Ps. 27:12-14
  • "How great is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you, which you bestow in the sight of men on those who take refuge in you." -Ps. 31:19
  • "Answer me, O LORD, out of the goodness of your love; in your great mercy turn to me." -Ps. 69:16
  • "Give me a sign of your goodness, that my enemies may see it and be put to shame, for you, O LORD, have helped me and comforted me." -Ps. 86:17
  • "Praise the LORD. Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever." -Ps. 106:1
  • "Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever." -Ps. 107:1
  • "But you, O Sovereign LORD, deal well with me for your name’s sake; out of the goodness of your love, deliver me." -Ps.109:21
  • "How can I repay the LORD for all his goodness to me?" -Ps. 116:12
  • "Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever." -Ps. 118:1
  • "Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever." -Ps. 118:29
  • "Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good. His love endures forever." -Ps. 136:1
  • "Set me free from my prison, that I may praise your name. Then the righteous will gather about me because of your goodness to me." -Ps. 142:7
  • "They will celebrate your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of your righteousness."-Ps.145:7
  • "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control." -Gal. 5:22-23a
  • "For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord." -Eph. 5:8-10
  • "His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ." -II Peter 1:3-8
For those of you needing a song to express to God your thankfulness for His Goodness even in the midst of deep, deep pain...

*thanks, Sara, for sharing this song with me. I love you, sister.

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