“God is good.” While this is certainly a true statement of our heavenly Father’s character, in times of suffering God’s goodness often comes into question. How could such a loving God and Father allow us to endure such devastating circumstances? Why doesn’t He stop the pain and suffering? Certainly the all-powerful and sovereign God of the universe, who is in control of all things, could intervene in our circumstances and the world around us to alleviate suffering. So why doesn’t He?
The psalmist David expresses God’s goodness in Psalm 31:19: “Oh, how abundant is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you and worked for those who take refuge in you, in the sight of the children of mankind!” Here, David tells us that God treasures up His goodness. It is stored up, or kept in reserve, for those who fear Him and take refuge in Him until they need it, then He graciously distributes it. It is similar to what the farmer does when the fields are ready for harvest – he waits and stores up the crop until it is required to harvest and distribute. So it is with the goodness of God. He does not empty it out in mass quantities all at once for us to appropriate, but keeps it in reserve until we need it.
This doesn’t mean that God is only good some of the time or only when we need Him to be. It simply means that God, who gives us so many rich things to enjoy, distributes His goodness in abundance as need arises. We never need to fear that we could ever come to the end of God’s goodness, for it is impossible for Him never to have more to give. We can never reach the limit of God’s blessings and goodness.
One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts. 5 On the glorious splendor of your majesty, and on your wondrous works, I will meditate. 6 They shall speak of the might of your awesome deeds, and I will declare your greatness. 7 They shall pour forth the fame of your abundant goodness and shall sing aloud of your righteousness. 8 The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. 9 The Lord is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made. (Ps. 145:4-9)
The Lord is righteous in all his ways and kind in all his works. (Ps. 145:17)
Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him! (Ps. 34:8)
For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations. (Ps. 100:5)
Good and upright is the Lord; therefore he instructs sinners in the way. (Ps. 25:8)
Or are you [so blind as to] trifle with and presume upon and despise and underestimate the wealth of His kindness and forbearance and long-suffering patience? Are you unmindful or actually ignorant [of the fact] that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repent (to change your mind and inner man to accept God’s will)? (Rom. 2:4, AMPC)
When we find ourselves in times of suffering and in need of God’s goodness, we discover He is there to supply us with all that is necessary to carry us through the dark valley. “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me” (Ps. 23:4). When we have strayed from God and are overwhelmed by the weight of our sin, God’s goodness leads us to repentance. The best of God’s goodness is stored up for us for any and every situation. We can never exhaust God’s goodness nor escape from His abiding presence. Psalm 139:7-12 gives us this assurance.
Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? 8 If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! 9 If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, 10 even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me. 11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,” 12 even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you.
God is good and He wants us to experience His goodness. But a life of ease and prosperity provides little opportunity to experience the abundance of God’s goodness. It is through times of suffering that we get to know God better and experience the vast depths and dimensions of His goodness. So let us not grow weary or hardened of heart in the midst of suffering, for God is doing a great work in us as He leads us to experience His goodness in ways we could never have otherwise known!
In God’s divine love,