The One True God is Good and Does Good
by Gini Crawford, MSW
The Creator of goodness
The Bible tells us God is good, and what He does is good. God is the source of all goodness. There is no evil or bad in God; He is Holy (Psalm 5:4). We can see God's goodness in creation and our lives. In Genesis chapter one it says God created the world very good for us. There is a song that talks about giving the person's lover the stars and moon if he could. Well, God can and did. Out of love for us, the Creator literally gave us the stars and moon, the flowers and trees, and so on - so we could live with goodness all around us. Loving gift, isn't it?
You (God) are good and do good... Psalm 119:68 NASB®
When life is going good, it seems a natural fit for us. There is a serenity in our hearts, isn't there? This is because we were made for an existence that was completely good. Good in the Bible is defined by the words - beautiful, delightful, happiness, pleasant, glad, precious, correct, excellent, lovely, convenient, joyful, fruitful, secure, kind, and righteous.
Did you realize that every good thing comes from God? The colorful sunrise that I saw yesterday was from God. The pleasant odor after the rain came from God's sagebrush. When someone loves you, that love came from God, because He created love. The goodness that is all around us is from God. Without God there would be no goodness.
Do not be deceived... 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 1:16-17 NASB®
When evil entered our world
God had created everything very good and wanted it to stay that way. However, through the first sin, evil along with death entered the world (Genesis 3:1-13). We were created to only possess life and good, but the caustic effects of evil took hold because of sin. Our world went from a place where well-being, peace and joy naturally flourished - to a place where struggling, suffering, sickness, and conflicts thrived. Even though evil permeates our world, because of His mercy, God causes good to flourish (Psalm 27:13-14, 34:8-10, 85:10-13).
Evil (or bad) in the Bible is defined as - inferior, wicked, evil, malignant, hurtful, injurious, pain, unhappiness, misfortune, adversity, calamity, unpleasantness, immoral, hideous, and fierce. Have you ever thought about how very different things would be without evil in the world?
To be honest, I find it hard to imagine the world without evil. I am looking forward to going back to an environment that is only good in heaven.
God's goodness overcame evil in this world
Since God allows things that are difficult and even devastating, we can doubt whether He really is good. In fact trusting that God is good can be quite impossible from a human perspective at times. A friend of mine's daughter was killed. She struggles at times whether God is really good. I know God understands her struggle because He knows all things. I know, He isn't thinking, "How dare she not think of Me as good." God is compassionate. He understands our struggles from evil. He weeps for us because of our suffering from evil and death (John 11:35). God literally gave His life to overcome evil.
Trials from an eternal perspective
All suffering needs to be looked at from God's perspective, an eternal perspective. He knows what trials need to happen to us for the best eternal outcome for us. Frankly I have wondered if some of the worst situations on this earth will turn out to be the most beautiful when we see the results of them in heaven. Trials also can make us into being more like Jesus. It is always good to be more like Jesus, isn't it? (Romans 5:1-5; 8:18; 2 Corinthians 3:18; Philippians 3:20-21; James 1:2-5). The Apostle Paul who suffered a lot said,
For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 NASB®
God works all things for good
Because of Who God is, He will work even horrible things for our good and others. A good example of God working terrible trials for good, is the story of Joseph in Genesis. In short, Joseph's brothers had sold him into slavery out of jealousy when he was a teenager, and were hoping this treacherous deed would end in his death. Now it was many years later and Joseph (who is now second to only Pharaoh of Egypt) said to his brothers,
And as for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive. Genesis 50:20 NASB®
We can trust God even when the going gets rough, because His good is being worked out in His plans for us (Romans 8:28). Trusting God leads to peace and strength when the world is in turmoil (John 16:33).
"For I know the plans that I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope." / ...God is not a man, that He should lie... Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good? Jeremiah 29:11; Numbers 23:19 NASB®
What a wonderful promise that God works all things together for our welfare!
God feels bad about our suffering
Here's an illustration from my life to hopefully give you a little understanding of how God feels when suffering hits. My second son during his toddler years cut his head three times. Each ordeal of stitches turned out to be so traumatic for him - I felt awful. It was so hard for me to see my child in such pain and distress. I can still recall how distressed I felt, each time the doctor put him in a straight jacket to put the stitches in.
If I felt awful when my son was suffering, how do you think God feels when you and I suffer? He is so much more loving and caring than I am. We are His children. In reality, we love and care because we are created in His image. God also sees suffering from eternity, and we don't. I believe nothing happens to us that God won't use in a beneficial way in the present, in our future and into our eternity. (Romans 8:18; 1 Peter 1:3-7). Have you ever thought maybe God feels worse than you do about your struggles and suffering? (Exodus 3:7-9; Isaiah 63:9; John 11:33-38). Remember, He died to stop suffering.
God's goodness triumphs
If you don't feel God is good, ask Him to show you His goodness in your life. I do when I am struggling with God's goodness. He always answers my heartfelt struggles. We also need to remind ourselves, God is using the trials and tribulations of life for our good, to make us more like Him, whether we feel it or not. Read Psalm 23:4-6; Jeremiah 33:2-3; Romans 5:1-5, 8:28; Philippians 4:5b-7; James 1:2-5.
What are your thoughts from these passages?
My son was in Iraq as a Marine officer. He saw many upsetting and destructive things, but he also saw God's goodness. I have found in our world that is full of evil, I need to intentionally look for the good around me, and be thankful for it.
Prayerfully look for the good in your life, and make a list of those good things. Then thank God for them.
For more on God's goodness and suffering see:
- God is good no matter what happens... He is the source of all goodness!
- Why does God allow us to suffer? (Part 1)
- Where are you God when I hurt? Or the silence of God (Part 2)
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