The pastor at the church I attended in college once used an illustration that has stuck with me ever since. He told the story of how his wife and children were in a horrific car accident. When he received the call informing him of the accident, there was no information about the condition of his family, whether they were alive, injured, or dead. In the frantic rush to get to them, this question kept going through his head: “Is God still good if I get there and my whole family is dead?”
This was a question I had never considered before he asked it. I had always found it easy to say “God is good” when things went the way I wanted them to, but I never considered His goodness in difficulties.
When the test is passed, the sickness is healed, and the journey ends safely at home, we easily thank God and praise Him for His goodness. But what do we believe about God when the test is failed, the sickness lingers, and the journey leads to the hospital?
Last week it was easy for me to say “God is good.” Sitting in hopeful anticipation of my husband passing his ordination exams, I was pleased to dwell on God’s goodness. Optimistic about the outcome, it was easy to be hopeful, faithful, trusting.
This week it is less so. Ben did not pass, and I am angry and sullen because my hopes were disappointed.
But the question remains: “Is God still good?”
The answer, of course, is yes. If that pastor’s family was dead when he arrived on the scene, God is still good. Though Ben did not pass, God is still good. Though we continue to wait for children, God is still good.
God is good in the good times, and good in the bad times because He does not change. His goodness is constant, unwavering. Though the circumstances may not feel good, it is still true that God is good.
For the Lord is good;
his steadfast love endures forever,
and his faithfulness to all generations.
We don’t always understand our circumstances. We can’t comprehend the mind of God and the reasons He works as He does. But what we can do is believe and rest in what we know to be true: God’s goodness is steadfast. Everything He does is working for our good and His glory.