I would like to ask a simple question, “Do you believe that God is good?” Now, I wish that we could have the conversation in person. The reason is, I question our first response as followers of Jesus. We have been taught that God is good. We pay mental acknowledgement to that truth… Yet do we really believe that God is good. Embracing that truth about God will change your life!
I have to believe that everyone faces difficulties in their life of some type. While I cannot speak for everyone, I cannot think of anyone that I know that has lived a difficulty free life. Now, I will grant that some appear to have it better than others, but everyone faces difficulties. This includes you and me. Here comes the follow-up question, “How do you respond to those difficulties?” Let me be more specific, “How do you respond to the difficulties that cause pain in your life?” I think that the natural tendency for most of us is to whine and complain. This is where the truth of God’s character should make a difference in our lives.
Now, let me start with a little disclaimer, that I am not saying that difficulties are easy when we truly grasp that God is good. I am not saying that we will not wrestle with discouragement or even anger as these life challenges. What I am saying, is that the Bible reminds us again and again that grasping who God is, gives us strength to face those challenges, because our confidence is in God and not in us, others or circumstances.
The last two weeks I have been preaching on Psalm 100. It is a Psalm that calls God’s people to live a life that is based on a growing understanding of the significance of their relationship with God. The verse contains what I call, two anchor truths. We looked at the first last week, God’s love for us (Psalm 100:3). Today I want to focus on the second, a reminder of how God’s goodness elevates our perspective on life’s difficulties.
The last two verses of the Psalm begin with a call to, “Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!”( Psalm 100:4) Now, I do not believe this is a call to put on the “Christian Sunday Face.” You know what I am talking about. It is when we are superficial and act like everything is great “praise the Lord!” This is a call to express our genuine gratitude to God when we gather for corporate worship. But how is this possible with the weight of life’s difficulties on our shoulders?
The next verses is our antidote, “For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.” (Psalm 100:5) When we come to live in a proper and growing understanding of God’s goodness it cultivates gratitude in the follower’s life. I spend a significant amount of time in the message developing this but let me summarize. God is good not because of his actions, but because of who He is. Yes, all that he does is good, but that is not the key truth here. It is that God does good things because that is his make-up and it is all that He can do. This means that everything that God allows in your life is for good. Now there are many things that are the result of living in a broken world filled with broken people. Yet, even then we are reminded that God can redeem those situations for good.
Let me wrap up with this. Our preparation for life’s difficulties happens long before we face the crisis. Let me encourage you to take steps to get into God’s Word each day, get plugged into a Bible teaching church and get involved in a ministry. You will be surprised at how God will change your perspective. For those currently in the middle of a crisis check out passages like Romans 8 especially verses 31-39 that remind you that you can trust God because He is good!
-Pastor Joe Parkinson