I read someone else’s good news with a little bit of sting in my heart. All of the responses were filled with joy. (As they should have been.) More than a few read, “God is so good.” Yeah, God is good when the news is good. But what about when the news isn’t all we had hoped it would be? Is God still good when your news isn’t?
I hope people aren’t thinking God isn’t as good here because things are hard these days? I don’t have as many “God is so good!” comments coming my way. I get more prayer emojis on my end. But the truth is, I’m not living in a world where I think God is only good when the good things happen. Just because we haven’t been able to ring that final bell resounding the end of our difficult journey doesn’t mean God suddenly went bad. Actually, I believe something quite different.
Even though our journey has been pain filled, it’s dang hard if I’m honest, I still get to see more of God’s goodness than you might imagine.
When I read Psalm 31:19 it tells me to take refuge in him and I will find his goodness. I don’t know about you, but I seek refuge in God in the hard times much more often than the good. During those good days I’m rolling along, windows down, without much need for refuge. But those rocky days? Duck and cover. God’s refuge, here I come. Psalm 31 says, “How great is your goodness … for those who take refuge in you.” I’ll find God’s goodness during the rough stuff way more often than the easy days, right?
God’s goodness doesn’t change according to our circumstances. Remember, that thing about him being an unchanging God? Just because I am wavering and scared and anxious in this fire does not mean God is feeling the same. He is where my refuge is found. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego found God’s goodness in their fire, didn’t they? (Daniel 3:8-30) They sought refuge in God in that furnace. And that’s exactly where they found his goodness. Not before they got in it, God didn’t save them from their troubles before they were tied up and thrown into that fire. But, right in the middle of that fire is where the goodness showed up. “…there is no other god who is able to deliver like this.” (vs.29)
My news isn’t the resounding congratulations I would have planned for this ending. There was no bell ringing announcing our finish line like we expected. But, that’s okay. I’m not much on public ugly crying anyway. Which is exactly how that scene would have played out for me. I can find my refuge in God. It feels good there. In his presence is where my hope and his goodness is found (credit: Francesca Battistelli). He knows our plan. What’s that Proverb again about me planning and God establishing? (Proverbs 16:9) I’m resting in this plan. God’s goodness is here.