This year we want to focus on who God is. Each month we will concentrate on a different attribute of God, and we’ll have one of our authors share what the attribute has taught her about Him. Plus you’ll find pretty free art downloads at the end of each post! We pray this series draws us closer to God as we meditate on who He is. Lysa TerKeurst begins 2017 by expanding on God’s goodness.
“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal.” Isaiah 26:3-4
I used to have a cautious approach to God. For years, I would have answered, What do I believe about God? with a tilted head and a narrowed expression. “I believe He’s unpredictable and slightly scary.”
I didn’t doubt God’s power. I didn’t doubt God’s authority. But I did very much doubt God’s goodness. However, when we go to the truth instead of our feelings, we can understand God’s goodness in a whole new light.
That’s why I want us to really wrestle well with 3 questions using truth:
- Is God good?
- Is God good to me?
- Do I trust God to be God?
Is God Good?
No matter what we feel, the truth is that God’s goodness has been apparent since creation. When He formed and shaped and painted and sculpted this world and its creatures into being, His goodness seeped in with every thought and touch. “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day” (Genesis 1:31).
When Adam and Eve chose to sin, their sin infected and infiltrated the goodness of all God had made. So, while there are still good things in this world, the world is no longer a perfect reflection of God’s goodness.
In Romans 8:21 Paul explains that the world is in “bondage to decay” or, as some versions say, in “slavery to corruption” (NASB, The Voice). This decay and corruption is evidence of the brokenness of this world.
We see it in deadly weather patterns, natural disasters, and famines that were not part of God’s good design. Cancer, sickness, and disease were not part of God’s good design. Car accidents, drownings, and murders were not part of God’s good design. Abuse, divorce, and relationship breakdowns were not part of God’s good design.
The first sin did those things. When sin entered the world, it broke the goodness of God’s design. And sin absolutely breaks God’s heart. But in no way did sin affect the goodness of God. He has a plan, a good plan to rid this world of every effect of sin.
For the Eternal is on His way:
yes, He is coming to judge the earth.
He will set the world right by His standards,
and by His faithfulness, He will examine the people.
Psalm 96:13, The Voice
Though we may get our hearts broken from the effects of sin in this in-between time, God’s goodness will eventually set the world right. In the meantime, we must hold fast to the truth of who God is and His unchanging nature: God is good. His plans are good. His requirements are good. His salvation is good. His grace is good. His forgiveness is good. His restoration is good.
Yes, God is good.
Is God Good to Me?
When I was little, my dad left our family and it was a devastating blow. I wondered what my heavenly Father’s attitude was toward me. How could God just stand by and allow so much heartbreak into one little girl’s world?
It seemed every three years starting the year my dad left, there was some kind of awful tragedy that cast dark shadows into my life. Abuse. Divorce. Abandonment. Mental illness. The cycle just kept going and going.
Even after I’d been a Christian for a long time and knew God loved me, I still had this nagging question about why the hard stuff had to be so painful. Was God really being good to me in this?
Romans 8:28 says: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” I like that verse. And I think it helps shed some light on the reality that even if something doesn’t feel good, God can still work good from it.
But verses 5 and 6 from this same chapter give me another layer of assurance: “Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.”
What doesn’t feel good in my flesh won’t make sense in my flesh. But if I have the Holy Spirit in me, my spirit is different because God is there—His indwelling presence with me. He speaks reassurances in the spirit. He speaks comfort in the spirit. He reminds me He is right there with me in the spirit. Others might disappoint me and leave me, but God never will.
Therefore, I have to keep my mind focused on what the Holy Spirit whispers, not what my flesh screams.
And in my spirit I know God is good to me.
Do I Trust God to Be God?
Once we’ve stabilized our view of God by replacing old feelings with the solid truths that God is good and God is good to us, now we have to answer one final question: Do I trust God to be God?
I love these verses, Isaiah 26:3-4: “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal.”
The Hebrew word for steadfast used in this verse is samak, which means “to brace, uphold, support.” In other words, those with minds fully braced, upheld, and supported by truth and trust in God will be kept in perfect peace.
The mind feasts on what it focuses on. What consumes my thinking will be the making or the breaking of my identity.
Will I trust that God sees and knows things I don’t?
When people betray or reject me?
When my heart gets broken?
Will I trust Him to the point where I fully turn the control of my life and those I love over to Him?
If God is good and God is good to me, then I must fill in the gaps of all the unknowns of my life with a resounding statement of trust: God is good at being God.
So in quiet humility and without a personal agenda, I make the decision to let God sort it all out. I sit quietly in His presence and simply say, “God, I want Your truth to be the loudest voice in my life. Correct me. Comfort me. Come closer still. And I will trust. God, You are good at being God.”
Lysa TerKeurst is the New York Times bestselling author of Uninvited, and just released her newest Bible study, Finding I AM. She is the president of Proverbs 31 Ministries. Connect with her at LysaTerKeurst.com or on social media @LysaTerKeurst.
We have provided free art for you to help you keep God’s goodness in your focus this month. Just right click (or tap and hold on your phone) to save. We’d love to know what God is teaching you this year—share on social media with the hashtag #GodIs2017.
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