My heart has been tested recently with how deeply I really trust the Goodness of God.
Not just the sovereignty of God – the fact that He is in control of everything. But the Goodness found in that control. The fact that He is not an evil dictator; He doesn’t enjoy my pain and suffering; He does not delight in causing me hardship.
When circumstances get hard and I choose to believe that God is good in them, sometimes I start associating the negative circumstances with the goodness of God.
My heart subconsciously believes “Yes, He is a good God. He just makes me suffer because He believes I’m strong enough and wants to help refine me. God in His goodness will keeping placing hardships on me. That’s how this relationship works.”
I begin seeing him as that loving and so tough Olympic coach. Maybe even that professor from Whiplash, Terence Fletcher, but without the name-calling and especially without the vulgar language. (P.S. That movie was awesome but the language was horrendous.) I see God as the one who will push me to the breaking point to get me to be the best I can be.
I’m missing something critical about the character of God here.
God’s heart is not for suffering. It is not for hardship. And it is certainly not for my pain.
Oh yes, there are times he permits hardships. He shapes all things together for good and uses the hardship to refine me. Absolutely.
But there is an even more prominent characteristic of God.
His desire to give me good things.
“Fear not, little flock. For it is your Father’s great pleasure to give you the Kingdom.” – Luke 12:32
When I reject this belief in the sovereign goodness of God, it changes how I interact with situations in my life.
It makes it almost impossible to confidently walk into good.
There have been good things that God has placed in front of me, and yet I start picking them a part, trying to predict the flaws and figure out how they are going to spontaneously combust in front of me.
“They can’t be this good” I think to myself.
So I find all the little flaws. And my heart retreats back into itself. I hold out the flaws before God and say “See? See this is why it isn’t the fulfillment. This is why it isn’t good. I know what You’ll do. You’re going to ask me to give it up. That’s what you always do, God. You ask me to give it up. But see? I know the flaws. I know why it wouldn’t work. So when You ask me to give it up, it’s fine! It won’t hurt because I never fully believed it could happen anyways.”
Oh. Little. Flock.
He sighs at me.
“Believe in my goodness” He whispers.
If I don’t believe the simple Truth that God longs to give me good gifts, that He longs to bring the fulfillment, He longs to answer promises, I will never walk into the fullness of them and thus, I will never truly receive them.
How can I receive Good when I am consistently believing God is going to take it away?
I can’t protect myself from the One who just wants to give me Good.
He is better than I believe He is.
He wants to give me better than I think He does.
Sometimes you must risk to believe something is completely Good. Not only partially Good.
Sometimes you must accept the thing at face value, and not pick it a part to try to figure out the one way it must be bad.
Eagerly anticipate the Good, friends.
Not the hardship.