“O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed are those that trusteth in Him.” -Psalm 34:8
One question people have asked for generations throughout time is, is God really good? Philosophers have struggled with what they call “the problem of evil” for as long as the art of philosophy has existed. It is easy to there is nothing to talk about, the scriptures say God is good, end of discussion. Yet the scriptures also say that God is fierce, and cruel; God is good, yet tells His people to murder women and children in cold blood. We see pain and suffering all around us. Why doesn’t a righteous God feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and end all war?
To think that we will settle these questions in this short article would be quite presumptuous. Yet these are topics we must discuss, and hopefully by doing so we will have some things to thing about to help us gain better understanding. To truly discuss this topic, we cannot look outward first, but inward. Yes, inside is where your pains are living. Like a loving Father, God is always there for us. We just need to look inwards and find Him.
God is Good
What does it mean then that God is good? Because love is sacrifice, and God gave everything for us. As the Bible says, God loved us first (1 John 4:19). We must understand that one of the greatest gifts God has given us is our freedom to choose. But with this freedom comes the consequences of our actions. Sadly, sometimes those consequences do not affect us at all, but others. And some consequences are much larger than we could ever imagine. But because of the love God has for us, Jesus atoned for our sins, making the way back. This means that God is always there for us, even when we do not want to acknowledge Him.
I will share an example. A fun story we like to talk about in our house is of our youngest son. As a baby he wanted his mother. Always. The only times I was really able to spend time with him was when he was asleep. Yet I loved him. One night, after he had snuck into bed with us, my wife got up out of bed leaving me and him in the bed alone. He woke up and realized that mom was not there. I woke up and told him not to be afraid, I was there for him. He pushed me away and said, “I don’t want you dad!” He then began to scream, “Help! Mom! Heeeellllpppp!” My wife’s voice came out softly from the darkness and said, “it’s okay, I am right here, and your father is with you.” He pushed me again and said, “I hate dad, I want you mom!” I laughed to myself and stayed with him until my wife came back to bed, then we all fell back asleep.
At no point did I ever stop loving my son. I didn’t force my way into his heart. I loved him where he was. Eventually, one day he was trying to transform one of his toys from a car to a robot. I asked if I could help. He rather aggressively said, “No!” He let me know he would get help from his mom. I kindly explained that mom didn’t know how to transform toys, but he did not want to hear it. He went to his mom and came back and said, “Mom said you can do it.” As I transformed the toy, he asked why I know how to do this, and mom did not. I told him I loved playing with this type of toy as a child and that I played with them with his brothers. He was surprised! He suddenly saw me in another light. He then asked me if I could play with him. The joy I felt! Of course, I said yes. We have been friends ever since.
While this is a rather mundane explanation, I feel this story expresses my understanding of how God works. God is always there, unconditionally. He offers us help, even when we push Him away. When we finally change our perspective and truly see God, we understand God’s goodness and that God has been with us all along. Now we want to spend time with God, learn all we can about God, let God teach us all we can learn. We grow in God!
Just as my youngest son and I do not always see eye-to-eye, we will not always agree with God. Why? Because God has an infinite perspective compared to our finite understanding. Just as my children think doing things that can hurt themselves or others are okay because they can “do whatever they want as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else,” we too can be selfish and egotistical. But God is still with us, still wanting us to return. And we always can. That is why God is good. Because He loves and trusts us enough to send us here to learn for ourselves.