December 5, 2010
Some Thoughts on God's Goodness
“The Lord is good, A stronghold in the day of trouble; And He knows those who trust in Him” (Nahum 1:7).
The simple affirmation that God is good is a marvelous thing.
Perhaps the marvel of it is lost on us today, but long ago the notion that the Creator is benevolently inclined toward God’s creatures was a radical concept. What is more, the news that the goodness of the true God has been manifested in the atoning death and triumphant resurrection of God’s Son, Jesus Christ, blew through the fear and superstition of the pagan mind like a cleansing hurricane. The human heart has simply never entertained a more nourishing, strengthening thought than the idea that God is good – perfectly, lovingly, and victoriously good!
Make no mistake, the goodness by which God makes possible our reconciliation, and by which God will one day judge the world, doesn’t mean that all will be saved and none lost (Romans 11:22). To commit sin is always, in one way or another, to refuse the benevolence of God’s will in the here and now – and if we’re lost in eternity, it will be the consequence of having refused God’s love for so long that time ran out and our lives finally ended in rebellion (John 3:16-19). Some will simply not accept God’s reconciliation on God’s terms, and we’re told that these “shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power” (2 Thessalonians 1:9). God will not force God’s goodness upon any whose final choice is to refuse it.
But we need not reject the truth about God’s goodness. We can accept it. Peter wrote that we can entrust ourselves “to a faithful Creator” (1 Peter 4:19). This truth is far more than a lucky charm to be worn while we live any way we wish. It happens to be the most “disturbing” concept that can seize our thinking. Whoever truly comes to terms with the unfailing goodness of God will never again deal with sin or with uncertainty in the same way. A deep, grateful confidence that God is good will win the war against both wickedness and worry.
“Yet, in the maddening maze of things,
And tossed by storm and flood,
To one fixed trust my spirit clings;
I know that God is good!”
(John Greenleaf Whittier).