“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver. “Don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about being safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”
C.S. Lewis-The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe
When I first read this book, I didn’t know yet that I didn’t actually believe God was good. Oh sure, I believed He was real. I believed He was sovereign. I thought I believed Him at His word, and that I believed He was who He said He was.
It wasn’t until years later, in the midst of a dark season and crisis of faith, that I realized at my core I did not believe He was truly good.
I would have been ashamed to admit that to most people at the time. But now, I’m really grateful to have come to that realization, and to have had to wrestle with that part of my faith.
Whether or not I believe God is good (all the time and in all of His ways) doesn’t change a thing about God. The fact is, He is good.
But it sure does change me.
For me, believing and trusting in this part of God’s character made all the difference in my ability to trust Him at all.
I can believe everything else He says about Himself. But until I believe He is completely good, at best I will have a dutiful and compliant relationship with him…at worst a bitter heart full of resentment and mistrust.
But when I believe He is good…
that’s when I find rest.
If I can accept the fact that what appears ‘good’ or ‘bad’ to me might not actually be so, I am closer to understanding and trusting who God is.
Like a child who pitches a fit because they have had to stop doing something they enjoy, not realizing it’s because there is something much greater for them-how often do I miss the fact that the God of the universe knows so much more clearly the difference between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ than I do.
I think the ability to know-gut level- that God is good is one of the blessings that comes with time spent in His word and some history of life spent in His hands.
The psalmist says, ‘You are good and do good; teach me your statutes’. (Psalm 119:68 ESV)
But if you read that whole Psalm, he is not making this statement having never experienced trial or hardship-some of which seem to be the result of his own waywardness, while some at the hands of others.
No, he says this having known deep pain, and apparently in the midst of affliction. But he is able to say it because he has known and experienced it.
In an previous Psalm we are encouraged to ‘taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!’ (Psalm 34:8 ESV)
But in the same Psalm we are reminded ‘Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all. He keeps all his bones; not one of them is broken.’ (Psalm 34:19-20 ESV)
We aren’t promised a life without pain or hardship. But we are promised that God is good, in all of His ways. He doesn’t always allow us to see the ‘why’ of our trials. But when He does, we would be wise to reflect on His goodness and develop a mental scrapbook of sorts.
Then, when trouble comes again, we can say with certainty that we have tasted and seen the Lord is good. We can rest in the knowledge that He is greater than we are, has a perspective we don’t have, and we can say…
‘This I know, that God is for me. In God, whose word I praise, in the Lord, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can man do to me?’ (Psalm 56:9-11 ESV)