doubts faith

Is God Good? The Definitive Answer

3:40 PMHeather

Is God good? This is a question with which I have long wrestled. 

I've believed in God for as long as I can recall. I've always had a basic belief in the general idea of a benevolent God who loves me and made the world. I've even come to build a belief that includes a personal relationship with him, nurtured by prayer and reading the Bible. 

Yet, when things don't feel good and aren't going well, I've stumbled in feeling that maybe God isn't actually good.  I know I'm not the only one who has encountered this stumbling block while searching for meaning.

Is God good?

Photo by Kelly Kiernan on Unsplash

If God is good, then how can evil prevail in the heinous news of the day? If God is good, then how can children be sold into human trafficking? If God is good, then how can he allow natural disasters and famine and cancer?

While I've always believed in God, I have not always believed God. And there is a distinction between believing IN God and believing God.

At times, I've found it hard to believe he is actually for me, on a personal level.  It's felt as if his goodness is for others -- as if God is good, just not to me. Sometimes I've felt that I somehow failed to jump through the right hoops to earn that "goodness" being shown to me. 

My ability to truly believe he is good has waffled with the circumstances and emotions within my life. During these times of doubt, I tend to view him as a very stern father who I've failed to appease.

It was hard to believe he is good to me when cancer struck my dad. When relationships dissolved. When a miscarriage came. When a baby in our family was born into heaven instead of to the expectant parents who only wanted to hold him through life. When postpartum depression left me paralyzed. When chronic pain made it hard to function. 

Is God good? 

My answer to that question has, to be frank, vacillated on the waves of life. On level ground, I've held a fragile belief that God is good because the Bible says so. In good times, I can easily believe God is good because things are going well. But, in trying times, I don't even want to ask the question because I don't like the holes in my faith.

Last week, within the pages of my advent study from Sacred Holidays, I found the definitive answer on whether God is good. It was an epiphany moment, and I also felt it was so obvious I should have landed on it well before now.

Whether or not God is good depends on how you define good.

If you define good in your own terms, such as success, health, happiness, prosperity, ease, and comfort, then it's safe to say you will never be convinced that God is good. Because God is only good when life is going in a positive direction that you find pleasing.

When confidence and decisiveness on God's goodness is built on the shifts of our fleeting lives, then the answer is that God is not good.

But, if you define good in terms of a world beyond what you see, then you can build an unshakable certainty that God is good and you can begin to take him at his every word in Scripture.

If, within your finite mind, you can define good by a definition that  embraces his infinite wisdom and attributes beyond your grasp on this side of heaven, then you will be certain God is good. 

Faith is the bottom line, rather than the evidence of life's circumstances. It's a choice, minute by minute, to believe God even when you can't understand him. Accepting my own limitations and embracing the eternal mysteries of God frees me to believe God with a confidence that will not be moved. It also rightly postures my heart to bow to him with awe.

Believing that God is good is accepting that if God were small enough for me to understand than he would not be big enough for me to worship.

I can believe God is good when I believe that goodness is a kingdom that I cannot see but exists nonetheless. When I view this life as a precursor and know that this world is not my home, then I can rest confidently in God's goodness.

And I do. 

I do believe there is an eternal kingdom where every tear is dried and death is conquered forever and the enemy is defeated forevermore and where all that is wrong will be made right.

The definitive answer on whether God is good is found when you bravely and honestly answer how you define good.

God is good when I choose to accept that what I see and experience is only the surface of a depth beyond my imagination. This choice frees me to say that God is good even when all that I want or hope for is not happening.

It is indeed good to have a Heavenly Father who sees around the corners in life that I cannot see. It is good to have a Savior who obeyed his father to a death on the cross in order to make me a child of God. It is good to have an Almighty God whose love, wisdom, forgiveness, and loving kindness are limitless and beyond what my limited mind can grasp.

I will therefore declare that God is unmistakably good. He is good in ways I cannot see or fathom. 

I may question and stumble when things are not good. But, I will get back up and stand firm with this proclamation of hope.

If things go the way I want or not, God's goodness is not contingent on my circumstances. His goodness exists beyond them, it encompasses them, and it weaves them all together in unseen ways for a kingdom I cannot imagine where all that is foggy and unclear becomes seen. In a blinding Light of glory that will humble me to fall face down and say...

... "Forgive me for ever doubting!"

Come, Lord Jesus!

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