There is a phrase Christians say to one another… “God is good…” The reply is… “All the time!” Then it is said, “All the time…” With the reply… “God is good!”
That’s easy to say when you just got an “B” in biology when you thought you had a “C” (Congratulations Amy!!) It’s easy when you’ve gotten a promotion, raise, or a new job. It’s real easy when the doctor gives you a clean bill of health after thinking you might have a significant health problem. When life is good, we feel blessed… love to worship… and a smile is on our face and a song is in our heart.
But when life deconstructs around us it’s not as easy to say with the same passion and joy “God is good!” is it? When your spouse who is 40 years old has a stroke… when your child makes what could be life altering mistakes… when the company you’ve worked with for 15 years lays you off… when your spouse of 30+ years leave you… when a loved one dies… that is when we find out what we really believe about God!
If the Christian faith isn’t good in times of distress, it is no good at all. If our faith doesn’t give us hope when there seems to be no hope, what use is it?
I really haven’t had what I would consider a life tragedy happen (Yet). I haven’t had what I’d describe as my world falling down around me (Yet). I haven’t had anything happen that I’d say was a real, significant, or momentous event that tests me to the point of breaking (Yet). And do you know what that means? I have time to prepare for it because eventually every believer experiences those things (See Acts 14:22b).
When David’s baby died, he was able to get up… clean up… and look up (Worship). When Job had lost all his possessions, all his children had been killed, his health was gone, and his wife pushed him to “curse God and die…” he was able to say, “God gives and God takes away… Blessed be the name of the Lord!” When Habbakkuk’s life was falling apart he wrote (Hab 3:17-18), “Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior.”
I want to have THAT kind of faith! I want to be THAT faithful to God in adversity! I want to be THAT strong when my test comes… because eventually the test WILL COME (Acts 14:22b). How does THAT kind of faith happen?
It comes… and is built… incrementally, slowly, over time, little by little. You see, God controls what happens to us and does not allow anything to occur that we cannot handle (1 Cor 10:13). Before the really big event transpires, God prepares us for it by allowing smaller tests that strengthen us SO THAT when the time comes we are ready (James 1:3-4).
Do we believe God? Do you believe God? Do I believe God?
There are several passages of Scripture that I try to visit regularly to prepare for what I know I don’t know is coming (Does that make sense?). I’d like to give these to you so you can be preparing too…
I call these things Seven Truths About God.
Truth #1: God IS good (Psalms 73:1).
Truth #2: God IS love (1 John 4:8, 16).
Truth #3: God IS in control (Romans 8:28; Daniel 4:35; Isaiah 46:9-10).
Truth #4: God IS righteous (Ezra 9:15).
Truth #5: ALL God’s ways ARE perfect (Deuteronomy 32:4).
Truth #6: God CAN be trusted (2 Sam 7:28; Ps 62:8; Prov 3:5-6; John 14:1).
Truth #7: God ALWAYS has my best interest at heart (Matt 7:11; Luke 11:13).
Those seven truths are supported by five realities from Scripture…
Reality #1: Matthew 7:11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him!
Reality #2: Romans 8:32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all — how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?
Reality #3: Matthew 6:33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
Reality #4: Psalms 37:4 “Delight yourself in the LORD and He will give you the desires of your heart.”
Reality #5: Ephesians 3:20-21 “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”
Concluding encouragement (Suggestion): Don’t wait till the hurricane hits to shore up the levee (Lesson from Katrina and New Orleans). Don’t wait till the horse it out of the barn to close the doors. Don’t wait till you need God to know God’s heart! Don’t wait till a trying time hits to bury God’s truth deep in your heart!
By the way… if you didn’t read my post “Hat Hooks,” this would be a good time to do so. Those “Hat Hooks” are derived from what is written here and is part of the process I’m describing. The post is dated December 10, 2006.