Many of us have heard this statement uttered from the mouths of people we know, “I don’t think God is good!”
Recently a few weeks ago, I heard a friend I have known since college tell me this very thing. He questioned that God is good.
He went on to describe how he was wrestling with continual pain in his heart from a couple of major losses in his personal life.
As I listened to him, I prayed for God’s love and wisdom to cover the remaining moments of our conversation.
He continued to unload the heartache inside of him that weighed heavy on his shoulders and affected many things in his personal life.
Underneath the pain, I could still sense that deep down my friend still did believe God is good but it was easier for him to be angry than it was for him to face his own heart.
I felt compassion for him as we all have had, at least a few moments, when we doubt and question the truth about God in some way.
First, I encouraged him and helped him see the silver lining in some of the things that have come out positively from his trials and his losses.
Then, I looked at him and told him that he was not alone in wrestling with God, especially when it comes to the human struggle we all have to go face-to-face with the sadness and pain in our hearts.
I told him that it takes a lot of courage for us all to face what is in our hearts - especially as it relates to the unpleasant experiences we deal with - like loss, sadness, setbacks, heartaches and disappointments.
Doubting God’s goodness is as old as Adam and Eve (Genesis chapter 3).
The serpent put that thought in Eve’s mind when he suggested that it was God’s fault for withholding the fruit from her because “God knows that when you eat from it, your eyes will be opened and you will be like God knowing good and evil” (verse 5).
It was because of pride along with the deception from the enemy that Adam and Eve thought that they - rather than God - should determine what was good and best for their lives.
The Bible tells us that Satan even uses Scripture for his own evil ends by tempting the believer to doubt its truth.
When we experience doubts concerning the Word of God, we can follow our Lord’s example and cite Scripture with confidence (Matthew 4).
Years after losing a daughter in death, James Bryan Smith found he was able to affirm God’s goodness. In his book, “The Good and Beautiful God,” Smith wrote that “God’s goodness is not something I decide upon. I am a finite human being with limited understanding.”
Smith’s amazing comment isn’t naïve, it arises out of years of processing grief and seeking God’s heart.
In times of discouragement, let’s listen well to each other and help each other see the truth that God is good!
We can see it in a similar fashion as the psalmist did and pray, “Lord, we praise You in our difficult times. You know us and You know what is best. We turn to You because we know You are good!”
Psalm 145:9 - “The LORD is good to all; He has compassion on all He has made.”
Psalm 23:6 - “Surely Your goodness and unfailing love will follow me all the days of my life.”