Would you have guessed that you and I would spend our 2020 spring season fighting a global pandemic?
COVID-19 has done serious damage to the fabric of societies around the world. Some of us are batting unemployment, anxiety, boredom, loneliness — or the virus itself. For many, the situation goes even deeper; we are battling with the question of whether God is still good during this difficult time.
We have the philosophical dilemma of thinking that a good God will always remove bad things. But we also have the emotional realness of this time. The struggle to believe in God’s goodness is certainly understandable, as we consider all that has happened to us in the past month. How can God really be good, we ask, when there is so much hurt?
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In What Do You Tether Your Faith?
We would do well to consider what we have allowed to influence our belief in God’s goodness. For many of us, our theology of God is based entirely upon our own experience of life.
> If things go well, we think God is good.
> If things don’t go well, we think God is not good.
We tend to reduce the God’s goodness down to what feels good in our own experience, and we tether our belief about God based on that. But when that thing is taken away, our faith goes away with it, and we start to question God’s goodness.
God’s goodness influences our world, certainly. And His goodness has no doubt stopped many, many horrible things from happening — things we never know about. But God does not promise us a pleasant life, nor does He promise that our experience of life is going to get better. These are false ideas about God that we have invented and wield as indictments against God when life gets tough.
Rather than seeing the goodness of God linked against the troubles of this world, the Bible calls us to see God’s goodness as the answer to the troubles of this world.
God’s goodness transcends our present circumstances, and points to the things eternal, the things unseen. “Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows,” Jesus says in John 16:33,“But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”
So What is the Blessing of God?
In Romans 8, the apostle Paul spends a great deal of time writing on the blessings of God. We might expect “blessing” to mean that our lives will be comfortable and work according to our plan. But this is not what Paul means at all.
Look at verse 35, which says, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?” Paul goes on to quote Psalm 44, to affirm that hardships will indeed come. But then he says, “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.”
Notice that these trials are the exact circumstances by which we find victory! Today we struggle against the deadly coronavirus, yet it can’t overcome God’s love for us. In fact, the Bible promises that our eternal security in Christ will make us victorious through this virus.
> Even if it takes our homes.
> Our jobs.
> Our lives.
We can say this because of God’s goodness, not in spite of it! The fact that our world suffers, only goes to show how much greater God’s plan of redemption must be that He would allow bad things like COVID-19 to take place. Romans 8:18 says, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed in us.” God’s goodness is magnified in these times, not diminished!
You and I can continue to pray that COVID-19 will quickly pass; I think we should. But we also can be confident that God is fully good and fully in control of everything that happens in our world. As it says in Psalm 112:7: “They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the LORD.”
- Watch my video on dealing with anxiety during COVID-19.
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- Print out these Bible verses about God’s goodness! Read them. Believe them. Memorize some!
- Catch up on our Bridging the Gap posts. Experience God in a deeper way!