God is so very patient with all of us. It seems we are hell‐bent on destroying each other—families, friends, neighbors, churches, people groups, nations. And yet we've never quite been able to get the job done. Why are we not all dead?
If we question God's goodness, His infinite patience should be enough to convince us otherwise. Why has He not wiped us off the face of the earth and started over? He has every justification to do so. But He continues to work with us in spite of us.
This alone should silence any voice saying that God (if He even exists) is nothing but a tyrant, a bully, a spiritual thug. Well, I know better.
The world would instantly disintegrate if it weren't for the goodness of God. If you think I'm exaggerating, look into your own life. If every trace of God disappeared from your life, how long would it be before you would want to kayak blindfolded down the Colorado River?
God however, extends a certain amount of His goodness where it is completely undeserved—to us as believers, whenever we do not follow after Him, and to those around us who never follow after Him. God extends a certain amount of goodness to those who are not good to Him, just as we are to extend a certain amount of goodness to those who are not good to us.
But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. (Matthew 5:44–45 NLT)
God would not give sunlight to both the evil and the good, nor would he send rain to both the just and the unjust unless He was good. But those of us who say God is good can easily be trapped into thinking that His blessings, given to all men (those who love Him and those who don't), are all there is to His goodness. In other words, the only difference between us and the world is that the world sees God's goodness as a glass half‐empty, while we see His goodness as a glass half‐full. But we're all still looking at the same glass. And that glass in not a full measure of His goodness.
There is another measure of God's goodness, accessible only by intimacy with Him. And this is the measure of goodness He wants you to live in. Let me illustrate:
I am well‐known at our local Gospel Rescue Mission. The staff, the volunteers, and the homeless have observed me in action over a long period of time. And each individual has probably come to some sort of conclusion about me. Some will say that I am a good man, and others will say that I am not. Those who call me good are basing their conclusions on basically the same observations as those who call me something else. Are you with me so far?
At the shelter people have labeled me with a certain measure of goodness. Some people acknowledge it; others don't. But that is not all the goodness there is.
When I am with my wife, I have a greater measure of goodness that I can extend toward her. I can be better to my wife than I can be to the general public because she and I have a different kind of relationship. A class member and Sherrel can both call me good. But she knows a goodness that no one else knows.
God extends His goodness toward every human being to the extent that we each have access to the natural realm (air, water, food, social relationships, etc.). People who are not interested in God can still make good money, be in good health, enjoy good relationships, and enjoy good success apart from Him—but with limitations:
- They will not be able to hang on to their money (see Proverbs 13:22 and Ecclesiastes 2:26).
- They will have to control their health by human means; they do not have access to supernatural health (see Psalm 103:1–5 and Mark 11:22–24).
- They cannot enjoy the same quality of relationships possible for Christians (see Psalms 133:1 and Acts chapter 2).
- They cannot achieve their God‐given potential without God (see Jeremiah 29:11 and John 15:4–6).
They do not have full access to His goodness in this life. And they have no access to His goodness in the next life (see John 14:6).
We Christians certainly have full access to God's goodness in the next life. But, sadly, we don't access much of His goodness in this life. We have a limited view of God's goodness.
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever. Has the LORD redeemed you? Then speak out! Tell others he has redeemed you from your enemies. (Psalm 107:1–2 NLT)
Do you thank God the way the Psalmist does—from a deep understanding of just how good He is all the time? Or do you thank Him as more of an appreciation for helping you out this time (as if He might not the next)? How you thank Him speaks volumes about how you view His goodness. Please consider the following questions:
- Have you ever thanked God for His goodness after being successfully treated by the medical community for a health issue?
- Have you ever thanked God for a loan approval to get the money necessary for an important issue in your life?
- Have you ever thanked God for blessing your career choice?
I have thanked God for using the medical community to heal me. And I thought He was good back then. But I didn't know how good He really was until He began to heal me supernaturally whenever I began to declare His Word over my body.
I have thanked God for using the banking system to fund me. And I thought He was good back then. But I didn't know how good He really was until He started delivering money into my hands supernaturally. (And I mean in ways I could have never dreamed up—like checks in the mail from very odd sources.)
I have thanked God for blessing my decisions about the work that I did. And I thought He was good back then. But I didn't know how good He really was until I started listening to what He wanted me to do, and began to see the absolutely supernatural help that goes along with His anointing to do it.
Please stop looking at the glass that is just half‐full. Look instead for the glass that continually overflows. He is better than you think. And He wants to show you just how good He really is.
Have a good day,