Values storying is...

...passing down values from one generation to the next through the stories we tell and re-tell

God Is Good…All the Time?

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Is God Really Good?

God is great,

God is good,

Let us thank Him

For our food. Aaaa-men.

That was what my sisters and brother prayed as a blessing over the food when we were kids. When we visited with Tomp and Mama Tomp (my maternal grandparents) for a week during the summer, we were expected to add the second verse. Because Mama Tomp liked the second verse.

By His hands

We are fed.

Thank You, God,

For our daily bread. Aaaa-men.

We were ingrained with the idea that God was innately good. Abundantly good. A quick look around our childhood proved this idea correct. We had abundant food, much of which came from our own garden. We may not have been setting the fashion trends in our school, but we had plenty of clothes, and a house  that kept growing (through several additions) as our family did. Dad and Mom were happily married, and both had good jobs with good benefits. My sisters and brother and I never doubted that we would each be provided a college education with its resulting benefits for our lives.

Why would I have even questioned if God was good?

God is goodGod Is Good All the Time…

…and All the Time…

…God is good!

This was a mantra I learned in my church in the ’90′s. I have heard it repeated in many other churches over the last 20 years. In various ways, God’s goodness comes up in plenty of conversations:

  • “Got the test results back. No cancer. God is good!”
  • “My candidate won the election. God is good!”
  • “I’m so glad I waited. He’s such a good husband and daddy to our kids. God is good!”
  • “They offered me the job! God is good!”
  • “My team won the championship! God is good!”
  • “Loving the view from our balcony of the sun coming up over the ocean! God is good!”
  • “Tithes and offerings and attendance are up. God is good!”

Not to play devil’s advocate here, but would God cease to be good your tests revealed cancer, if you were the lady who waited on a godly man but remained single, if you didn’t get the job, if your family seemed to be the only one not spending a week at the beach this summer, if your church was on the edge of irrelevancy? Would you still say that God is good…all the time? Or maybe–if you have identified your current situation in the above scenarios–I should ask, is God any less good?

On the Brink of Faith

I have watched some who would have called themselves Christians teeter on the brink of belief when faced with the question, is God really good? I listened to a man I had prayed with many times tell me that I could go ahead and pray for his loved one if I wanted to but that he didn’t see that all that prayer was really doing any good. I saw that whatever measure of faith he had had to that point was broken. As far as I know, he is still reeling.

I wonder what this man and many others like him expect from God.

Is your faith journey a “what have you done for me lately” faith? Does God ever get a break from blessing you in order to correct you or teach you? Or is God more of a genie in a bottle, ready to bless you if you can just figure out the right formula to control Him? How little difficulty does it take to derail your faith?

So…Is God Really Good?

Do you want me to wrap it up, give you a nice, neat answer? One that can give you the secret to turning on the uninterrupted faucet of God’s goodness in your life? I’m not that guy. You see…

  • I’ve prayed fervently with a clean heart for friends with cancer. Some have survived that evil monster; others have succumbed to it.
  • I gave God a year of my life in which I committed not to date. At all. And I was already past my life plan’s age for marriage. At the end of that year–contrary to how I envisioned God’s response to this most sacrificial move on my part–there was no line of fine, godly women lined up to date me. Later, though, I met Mrs. Right.
  • God has actually called me away from jobs without more lucrative offers in the wings. And He has provided jobs, some just in time to meet my family’s needs.
  • My wife and kids and I are not regulars on the beautiful Gulf Coast. Oh, it’s not that we don’t want to go or that we’re taking a break to go to the mountains. But, then again, we have been gifted some trips well beyond our means. Not to mention the 20+ missions trips we have collectively taken….
  • I have been part of a church that raised its budget year after year and part of one that had to cut deeply to make ends meet. (Same church, by the way.)

So…is God really good? I say yes. Not a childhood yes or a Christian cliche yes. Certainly not the same yes that I would have given you as a child. But yes, God is good.

How do you answer the question, is God good…all the time…really?

God is good

This is a difficult topic to unpack in a blog post for sure. My goal today was to spark a conversation. My story of coming to a position of “yes, God is good” no matter what has taken a lifetime. I chronicled my faith journey of ups and downs in Stories from the Roller Coaster (of a Faith Life).

About Al Ainsworth

Al Ainsworth is a values storyteller. He works with individuals, businesses, churches, and other organizations to pass along their values through the stories they tell…and re-tell. Al is the author of Lines in the Gravel (and 52 Other Re-Told Childhood Tales), Stories from the Roller Coaster (of a Faith Life), and Coach Dave: Season One. Subscribe to his email list for more values storying.

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