Whenever I was sick, Mom always took me into town to see Doctor Woods. I had some major flinching going on as his nurse dropped my drawers and swabbed my butt with alcohol. The needle she used was surely long enough to go clear through and come out the other side.
I'd been through this whole procedure a few times, so I knew the drill. The doctor would reassure me that I needed a shot to get well, and that I would feel better in a couple of days. But I never felt any better after the shot than I felt before—so what good was it? The shot always hurt and I was always still sick for a couple more days—sick and sore. Why wouldn't I flinch when that big long needle came toward me?
If we only see God's goodness as a glass half‐full (see yesterday's article), we will always flinch whenever something comes against us. It's as if we can hear His voice saying, “Now this is going to hurt, but it will be good for you.” Yeah… right.
“If God is good, then why…?” It's a question we all will ask on a regular basis until we have a more complete understanding of just how good He is. Knowing how good God is really does matter.
I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. (John 16:33 NIV)
Now all discipline seems painful at the time, not joyful. But later it produces the fruit of peace and righteousness for those trained by it. (Hebrew 12:11 NET)
When you read the two preceding passages, did you tie them together in your mind? Do you think the Lord allows trouble in your life as a means of disciplining you? If you don't think so you are definitely in the minority.
So if I put these two passages together in a “trip to
doctor” paraphrase, I come up with the following:
“Mike, you're going to get sick. It's unavoidable. If you live in this world, you are going to get sick. But don't panic. I will give you a shot in the butt. It will hurt, but it's good for you. And you will be better in no time at all.”
Is this not the way we think about the stuff that comes against us? Do we not assume that the bad stuff coming against us must somehow be God's will, because God is good… right? And if God is good then the bad stuff must really be the good stuff. And if He is good then He is using the bad stuff (which must somehow be good for us in the long run) to discipline us. But this discipline is going to hurt, because He told us it would hurt.
Can you relate? It's no wonder we flinch every time something comes against us. It's no wonder we associate God's goodness with a father who says to his child, “I'm going to have to give you a whipping. And it's going to hurt. But it will be good for you in the long run.” It's no wonder we want to avoid this kind of goodness.
Please note: We will study both the Lord's discipline and the trouble we have in this world in more depth at a later time. But keep this thought in mind for the time being: If something is happening to you that is not good for you, then God has no part in it (see John 10:10). So don't be deceived into thinking all the bad stuff is just a part of His discipline—that may not be the case.
Let's go back to Exodus chapter 34 and hear what God says about Himself:
And the LORD passed before him and proclaimed, “The
the LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in
and truth, (Exodus 34:6 NKJV)
I lavish unfailing love to a thousand generations. I forgive iniquity, rebellion, and sin. But I do not excuse the guilty. I lay the sins of the parents upon their children and grandchildren; the entire family is affected— even children in the third and fourth generations.” (Exodus 34:7 NLT)
There is a relationship with God that has good stuff going on at all times. We can refer to it as being “in Christ.” This is the place, and the only place, where we can experience the full measure of His goodness.
But there is also a relationship (or non‐relationship) with God that has a lot of bad stuff going on. We can refer to it as being out there on our own. All people who are not born‐again live in this place. And all of us who are born‐again, but living at a distance from God, also live in this place. The goodness of God in this place is limited to what is necessary for survival.
When we draw close to God we enter into a sort of zone of goodness. We have access to resources that are simply not available on the outside. But when we distance ourselves from Him, we put ourselves on the outside—in the place with all the bad stuff. Think of God as a building and the world as a thunderstorm; you can say you are dry all day long, but the minute you step outside that building you will get wet.
Here's why knowing just how good God is really matters: God's goodness is only fully realized in His presence. If we are living outside His presence—if we're not paying attention to Him—then we're hearing our own voice and not His, and we're doing our own thing and not His. The same kind of crap is going to happen to us as happens to the world. The only difference is that we might have a more positive attitude about it, believing the glass is half‐full.
As we begin to intentionally challenge ourselves to operate in God's goodness concerning our bodies, finances, relationships, and every other area of our lives, we will never want to go back to the old ways. We will not be willing to settle for the world's healthcare system, financial system or any other system. All those systems of man are only a temporary measure of the goodness of God—to be used only until we decide to enjoy the fullness of God. Let me illustrate with just one system:
If we are living according to the world's healthcare system, then we will be subject to the same sickness and disease the world is subject to. Don't you hear Christians complaining about the same kinds of ailments as everybody else?
Living like this is not God's goodness. Just because we're still kicking and not dead is a half‐glassed concept of God's goodness. I know this is difficult to wrap your mind around, but please think about it. Knowing how good God is really matters.
If something comes against my body, I can say “God is good” all day long. But nothing will happen until I take some action.
If I act like God is good then I will go toward Him; I will seek out His help first. He will be my first‐responder. (I'm not saying I would never go to the ER. But I would never go there without His direction.) And because I run to Him first I can fully enjoy His goodness.
But if I say God is good and then run “first” to man, I haven't acted like God is good. No… my actions indicate otherwise. I'm only giving lip service to His goodness. I've avoided God, and have run toward man. Consequently, I am going to experience the goodness of man, and miss much of the goodness of God.
I realize this may seem quite extreme to you, but His goodness regarding our health is very practical to Sherrel and me. We don't have to spend any money on prescription medications because we don't take any. We don't have to spend any money or time going to the doctor for common ailments (colds, flu, joint pain, etc.) because He heals us when the symptoms come—and they do come. Even though we are intentional about doing our part through proper nutrition and exercise, He has also healed us of some significant health issues. And we have no idea what He has prevented from even coming against us because of His goodness.
He has been so good to us for such a long time, that when something does come against our bodies, we no longer flinch as if something bad is going to happen. We destroy it with the goodness of God.
We are working very intently and intentionally to understand just how good God is in every single area of our lives, so we never have to flinch at anything coming against us. And we encourage you to see how good God wants to be in your life as well.
Wouldn't it be wonderful to be so confident of God's goodness that nothing coming against you could make you flinch?
Have a good day,