Wednesday, April 13, 2011


I have a confession to make.  I often have a hard time believing that God is really good.  I know it intellectually, and I believe it for everyone else, but not for myself.  If God were really good to me, I think, then how could He possibly allow pain to come into my life or the lives of those I care about?  If He were really good, why would He deny me the things I ask for, while giving those same things so freely to others?  Even in times of ease and abundance, I become anxious, waiting for the day that God will take it all away from me.  It can’t last, I think, because God isn’t really good to me.
I know this is wrong, but deep in my heart, it is still often what I believe.   Although I hate to admit it, I know that I think this way because I think that God’s goodness is supposed to match up with my desires.  I make God small by falling into a Santa Claus view of Him.  I have my wish list, and if I’m good, I’ll get everything on it.  Nothing, of course, could be further from the truth.  One glimpse through the Bible proves me wrong immediately.  I love the account of Joseph, of seeing how God works through the worst of circumstances for His glory and for the good of His people.  But all too often, I refuse to recognize this in my own life because I am afraid that God’s good will be painful, and I selfishly want to insist on pleasure and comfort.
God may never give me what I desire, and things and people that I care about will inevitably be taken away.  But God is still good.  A friend of mine quotes Phil Vischer (and CS Lewis), who writes, “He who has God plus many things has nothing more than he who has God alone…if God is infinite, we can’t add anything to Him.  Nothing, added to God, can meet our needs any more than God alone.”  I like this because it reminds me that I already have EVERYTHING I need in Christ.  Even if I get those things I so deeply desire, I will not have anything more than I do right now.  Even if I lose everything, I will not have anything less.  God’s goodness, all of his infinite goodness, is already manifested in the cross, and there is nothing more that I need.  Now if I can only figure out how to live like I really believe that...

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