God is Good
“Let Thy goodness, like a fetter, bind my wandering heart to Thee!”
These words, from the hymn “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing,” were authored in the early 1700s by a pastor named Robert Robinson. When he was only five, Robert’s father died. He grew up as an incorrigible young man, but was saved after hearing a sermon by George Whitefield. Robert went into ministry and pastored for many years, apparently facing many challenges. I wonder how often reminded himself of these words he had written.
Let’s face it, life is not always easy. There is much bad news in the world. I used to say that ministry is made up of “the good, the bad, and the ugly.” And I’d say that we should thank God for the good, trust Him in the bad, and leave the ugly with Him. In recent years, in dealing with Laura’s cancer and more recently in my work as a hospice chaplain, I’ve been confronted with plenty of what some might deem “bad.” How can God’s goodness work to bind my wandering heart to Him?
In the midst of the bad news we hear of and deal with, here’s some good news–God is good! He is always so. A.W. Tozer wrote that God’s goodness “disposes Him to be kind, cordial, benevolent, and full of good will toward men. He is tenderhearted and of quick sympathy, and His unfailing attitude toward all moral beings is open, frank, and friendly. By His nature He is inclined to bestow blessedness and He takes holy pleasure in the happiness of His people.” God is not good in measure, He is infinitely so. And in His immutability, His goodness is unchanging.
So amidst the troubles we face, the goodness of God always works to draw us to Him (like a fetter) as an unwavering source of comfort and hope. I love the truth of Psalm 119:68, “Thou art good, and Thou doest good.” It’s a verse we’d do well to memorize and meditate on! That’s who God is and that’s what God does. Always. As believers we’ve already tasted of the goodness of God (Psalm 34:8). But it was never God’s intent for our souls to be satisfied with a mere taste, but instead to be well satiated in a fountain of living waters full of His goodness.
In His goodness, God is well able to bring good out of our bad. There’s a great example of this in the life of OT Joseph. He was sold off into slavery by his brothers, falsely accused by his master’s wife, and put in jail for a crime he didn’t commit. He experienced plenty of “bad,” but continued to trust God through it all. God worked in miraculous fashion such that he was made to be the prime minister of Egypt, and was able to store up food for the people in the midst of a seven year famine. As he later told his brothers, “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today” (Genesis 50:20; Cf. Romans 8:28). The cross likewise speaks to the goodness of God and to His ability to bring good out of bad (Cf. Titus 3:3-5). Jesus died but rose again! Lost sinners are saved through faith in Him! God is good!
Heavenly Father. We praise You for You are good and do good. In this darkened world, Your goodness shines as a beacon of light bringing both comfort and hope amidst our challenges. How thankful we are that You are always wanting the best for us! Thank You that in Your goodness You sent Your Son to die on a cross for our sins! And that You are well able to bring good out of the bad in our lives. Help us that, by the Spirit, we might bear the fruit of Your goodness, so that others might be drawn to You. Amen.