Trust: The Goodness of God
This is the fourth post in a weekly series of mini-devotionals on TRUST, which is the theme of the 2015 June 2 Worldwide Prodigal Prayer Day. This letter goes to the members of the Prayer for Prodigals community, but it is true for all of us.
Dear Lover of Prodigals,
Perhaps the worst part of our age of instant information is that we know about and see so much of the horror going on in the world.
Probably one of the hardest parts of loving a prodigal is that we experience so much pain, fear, confusion. And doubt.We ask: Is God really good? Can we trust in the goodness of God?
We have loved ones we are praying for who take their lives, go to prison, destroy their lives with drugs and alcohol. We seek help for mental illness and we raise the children they are unable to care for…and so much more. Where is God in all of this?
Is God really good?
The past two weeks we have gotten tiny glimpses of the blinding glory of God and unfathomable “godness” of God. Hopefully our minds and hearts have been expanded by the so much more that God is and does that we have a place—a space--for believing that He is truly good.
Here are some helps for us:
God’s Word Reveals the Goodness of God
Over and over Scripture assures us that God is good and all that He does is good. Here are just a few of those promises:
Jeremiah 32:40-41: “I will make an everlasting covenant with them: I will never stop doing good to them, and I will inspire them to fear me, so that they will never turn away from me. I will rejoice in doing them good and will assuredly plant them in this land with all my heart and soul.”
2 Chronicles 7:3: “When all the Israelites saw the fire coming down and the glory of the Lord above the temple, they knelt on the pavement with their faces to the ground, and they worshiped and gave thanks to theLord, saying, ‘He is good; his love endures forever.’”
Psalm 34:8: “Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.”
Psalm 86:5: ”You, Lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call to you.”
Psalm: 100:5 “For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.”
Psalm 103:5: “…who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.”
Psalm 119:68: “You are good, and what you do is good; teach me your decrees.”
Psalm 145:9: ‘The Lord is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made.”
God Works in Ways We Cannot See
As my children were growing, I was truly intentional about doing good to and for them. They liked and appreciated many of the good things I did for them. Some they did not like—and said so. My good didn’t match their good—but I was surely wiser than they were. Some of the good I did they never saw—I was always working for their good even when it was invisible.
Not long ago I reread Hind’s Feet on High Places, the story of little Much Afraid and her journey to the high places to live with the Good Shepherd. During a particularly difficult time, when Much Afraid spent days making her way through a dense fog, she despaired that the Shepherd had abandoned her and she would never find her way.
But the Shepherd came and assured her that He was always working, even when she could not see what he was doing.
The same is true for us. Our good God is always working for us and for our prodigals, even when we can’t see what He is doing. God Has Entered into Our SufferingTim Keller in his book The Reason for God says the above thoughts are helpful but not enough. In “My Faith: The danger of asking God ‘Why me?’” (CNN Belief Blog, Aug 12, 2012) Keller reminds us that God’s creation did not include suffering and death. Those came by our choice to live for ourselves.
"But God did not abandon us. Only Christianity of all the world's major religions teaches that God came to Earth in Jesus Christ and became subject to suffering and death himself, dying on the cross to take the punishment our sins deserved, so that someday he can return to Earth to end all suffering without ending us.
“Do you see what this means? We don’t know the reason God allows evil and suffering to continue, or why it is so random, but now at least we know what the reason isn’t, what it can’t be.
“It can’t be that he doesn’t love us. It can’t be that he doesn’t care. He is so committed to our ultimate happiness that he was willing to plunge into the greatest depths of suffering himself.”
Ultimately, God’s willingness to suffer and sacrifice through the life and death of His Son demonstrates a goodness in His being, His character, His essence that is trustworthy!
Are we beginning to trust?
Trusting in Him with you,
What about you? What helps you hold on to the goodness of God?
c2015 Judy Douglass
If you would be interested in requesting prayer for a prodigal loved one, or being a part of our wonderful praying community, respond in comments or write to me at PrayerforProdigals at gmaildotcom.