Thursday, December 3, 2009

Is He Good?

Do you believe God is good? As you go through your day, as you encounter trials, as you relate to those around you, do you firmly believe God is being good to you? It’s quite easy for me to believe in God’s sovereignty, power, omniscience, and yet I can often struggle with doubts of whether He is being good or kind to me in various situations.

Patrick Knaack, the Gospel Resource Network Director at World Harvest Mission, discusses this in one of his entries for the devotional My Luggage Is Not Heavy. He reminds us of the incident in Mark 1 in which a leprous man said to Jesus, “If you are willing, you can make me clean.” Patrick writes, “Did you catch what the man said? Just like me, the leper isn’t questioning Jesus’ abilities. He’s wondering about Jesus’ goodness.”

My heart often wrestles in a similar manner. I have no doubt God is capable of healing a sick friend, of pouring rain down on the relational-desert (Sahara-sized!) I’ve been wandering, or of providing employment to the many who experienced a lay-off over the past year.

In this specific situation, Jesus does heal the man. Mark writes that Jesus was “filled with compassion,” that he “touched the man”, and cured him in that very instant. What a wonderful resolution to the story…but maybe a small part of you responds like Patrick’s heart, “Yes, but he got what he wanted didn’t he? He was healed and restored. But Jesus hasn’t really fixed the issues in my life that need fixing and until He does, I’m having a hard time trusting Him.” Sadly, that is often my line of thinking. My jealous heart often despairs that His goodness seems reserved only for others.

So what is the appropriate way to combat the doubt or sinful self-pity? Patrick reminds us to hold fast to this truth, “God’s lavish goodness has already been poured out on me through Christ’s work on the cross.” If you are adopted by God into His family, you have had abundant (undeserved!) mercy and grace given to you. And our Father is kind in showing us that goodness each day, whether you are hired or fired, regardless of the results of the CAT scan, even if you remain dateless for another twenty-six years.

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