I was emerging from my morning quiet time with God when I stepped into the kitchen and laid this new realization on him, the realization that God is good. When he looked at me I could read his mind, “well yeah…”. I leaned against the counter and started the water boiling for another cup of hot tea. To this day, I can recall the clarity I felt. I looked at him and began to explain that when you have encountered the evil, ugly side of people it only magnifies the good in God. I wondered why I didn’t see this truth before. “Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.” Ps 34:8.
There are seasons of our lives that pass when darkness seems more prevalent. The pain and disappointments are experienced as steady blows, as though cornered in a boxing ring. We become bleary eyed and confused. And eventually Solomon’s words lift from the pages of Ecclesiastes, “There is a time to search and a time to give up”. There is a time to give up searching for answers when circumstances are confusing. People do confusing and hurtful things, however the Lord is good, and there is no darkness or shadow in Him. James 1:16-17 says, “…the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” There are no shadows in God. He is entirely good.
I find myself saddened by the evil that I have witnessed and even the persistent reminder of my own failings. Perhaps this is what drives us to justify gossip and slander: the lie that somehow all of that evil in us will go away with the pointing of the accusing finger. And does this really help anyone feel better? Maybe for a brief moment, for accusing fingers always come back at us in the arguments played out in the mind. Peter writes, “Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.” I Peter 2:1-3
It may be that I am late in coming to this understanding. Or maybe I am just now understanding this at a deeper level much the same as when an artist progresses from using primary colors to various tints, shades and tones bringing out the deeper understanding and meaning of a painting. Whatever the reason, what I am sharing with you is a new realization that has altered how I view evil in the world. I believe with all my being this deep truth; God is good.
So, during the hard times, the times when people aren’t good, when they tear down, when they allow their fear, insecurities and personal agendas to bruise the heart and soul of another, remember this: God is good. He is always good. If the lost person will take Him in, if the sinning saint will take Him in, God will heal. There is hope if we remember that the evil can be overcome with good. And there is only one that is truly good. God. “The Lord is my shepherd…I will fear no evil…surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” Psalm 23
(Artwork by Ashley Holland)