Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Lord is Good?

The Lord is Good. The Bible tells us that. We, as Christians, believe that. We should believe that - it's true. However, I find that we abuse that phrase perhaps more than any other in the Christian circle. We toss that phrase around with every "good" thing that comes our way - a pregnancy, a wedding, a good report from the doctor, a new job. Those things - and many things like it - are good. They are things we long for and pray for and we rejoice with reason when we see God finally do the thing we are praying for.

However, it's the things that are unsaid that say more than anything sometimes. When we get what we've prayed for and say God is good.....I wonder: Did we believe in God's goodness before the answered prayer? His goodness is unchanged. He is good because there is no darkness - no malice in Him. He is love. Father God is the exact expression of perfect love. In that love, He can only do what is good for me.

So, that unanswered prayer - the end of that relationship, the return of illness, the loss of someone we love, the barren womb - those things are good too. The difference is how they feel to us. But, God, He loves us so much that He will not give us a gift until He knows we are ready for it and He'll not give a "gift" at all if He knows it is not for our ultimate benefit.

That's very hard to understand. In this life, the things that we long for seem to be for our benefit. We usually can't see a situation where a particular thing is not for our benefit. However, our Savior who sees the whole story from beginning to end knows what we need. He is the writer - we are but a character in the story. Our happy ending is not an answered prayer, but a life that is more and more like His beautiful character until the day we are perfected in Him.

I recently heard a song from Laura Story that said this, "You give and take away for my good. For who am I to say what I need? You alone see the hidden parts of me that need to be stripped away. And as you begin to refine, I'm learning to let go and rely on the One who walks with me. As hard as it may be, your teaching me all the while to say, 'Bless the Lord, oh my soul. All that's in me bless your name. Forget not your power untold, not your glory or your fame. For you came to heal the broken, to redeem and make me whole. Bless the Lord, oh my soul.'"

He came to redeem and make me whole! Imagine that - wholeness. That is why He came - for my healing, and redemption. Jesus knew that it was only by His blood that I could ever be hopeful for any sort of redemption. So, He gave up everything - even life itself - so that my sin, my sickness, my brokenness could be healed. This God who would do that can not give me anything that is not good.

As I rejoice with those who rejoice (because there are people in my life rejoicing) and as I weep (because there are people in my life weeping), and as I plead for the Lord to move on my behalf in a couple of areas that I've prayed about for a really long time, I choose to believe that this is good because He is good.

And, in the end, He is more than enough. He is worth far more than any prayer I've prayed or answer I will or won't receive. The Lord is good - because and only because that is His perfect, holy nature.