Tag Archive: faith


All Saints Weekly Devotional

Volume 1 Number 22

July 6, 2012

Confessing the Goodness of God

From Pastor Bordwine

“Though He slay me, I will hope in Him.”

(Job 13:15)

As many of you know, on this past Monday evening I was admitted to the hospital after experiencing severe pain in my abdomen. From the beginning, the doctors were primarily concerned about a potential heart issue. The next day, an angiogram was performed which showed that my arteries were completely clear. Whatever the cause of my symptoms, it was not my heart.

I related this bit of information to a friend who dropped by the house for a visit the day after I returned home. I told him how grateful I was for God’s display of goodness in the results of that procedure. My friend immediately said: “But God would still have been just as good even if the report had been the opposite.” That comment startled me for a moment, but I quickly realized the beautiful truth just expressed by my brother. My perception of the goodness of God could not rest upon the report from my cardiologist.

The goodness of God is of His essence. It is God’s nature to be good and do good in everything. And it is impossible for God not to be and do good in everything. Therefore, had the results of my angiogram have indicated that my death was imminent, I could still have confessed that God was good. In such a situation, I would have to accept the truth that what sounded like devastating news to my ears was, in fact, an outcome ordained by a God of goodness. And I would then need to call upon Him for the grace to receive and rejoice in the kind of report no person ever wants to hear.

God most certainly showed love to me and my family by equipping me with a strong and healthy heart. But we must understand that God’s “reputation” for being good does not rest upon our estimation of the character or consequences of what He ordains. If God gives me life, He is good; if God ends my earthly life at this moment, He is good. God’s works do not determine the character of His nature, His nature determines the character of His works. God is good by nature; therefore, all of His works must be good as well.

The verse above expresses this truth in a magnificent way. Most of us know the story of Job. His suffering was beyond comprehension. His misery was compounded by friends who were sure that Job was being punished for sin. In his agony, Job pleaded his case of innocence, but his acquaintances were unmoved and continued to heap blame and guilt upon him. Nevertheless, as he wrestled with that incredibly harsh and intensely discouraging situation, Job maintained his conviction regarding the nature of God.

“Even if God takes my life in the midst of this horrible circumstance and even if my friends walk away satisfied that they have rightly diagnosed the cause of my suffering,” Job declared, “my trust in God’s essential goodness and righteousness will remain.” That is the confession of a man who truly knew God. Job was able to persevere through the most severe trial of his life without accusing God of wrongdoing because he knew and that such an complaint would be absurd.

How is it with you right now? Has God appointed a frightening and seemingly overwhelming trial for you? If so, fortify yourself with the sure knowledge of the essential and unchanging character of God. Confess His goodness even in the midst of your pain. Declare God’s trustworthiness even if you cannot see the end of your ordeal. While there are many things we cannot know during our trials, we can always find a measure of peace in the truth of the abiding goodness of God.

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For I was envious of the arrogant, as I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

(Ps. 73:3)

I am thankful for the realistic way in which Scripture represents our struggles. It does not by-pass the agony, doubts, anger, or depression of believers. This characteristic is particularly observable in the book of Psalms. Often, David describes his personal fears and reveals the questions that arose in his heart concerning the purposes of God, especially during times when he was suffering unjustly or facing an enemy that threatened his kingdom and his life.

One of the themes on which David comments many times is the apparent prosperity of the wicked while the righteous are oppressed and ill-treated. There were times, as the context for the verse above illustrates, when David knew that he was not guilty of any great offense toward God, yet his welfare was in jeopardy. At the same time, the king observed that the wicked were enjoying security and advancement. These kinds of situations forced David to recognize his own limitations and concede that the ways of God are sometimes mysterious.

When a believer is passing through a trial, perhaps one in which he is being falsely accused of sin, and he notices that those who are truly guilty of breaking God’s commandments face no particular hardship, it can create considerable turmoil in his heart as he wonders why God is letting him suffer, but letting his guilty neighbor remain untouched. In such circumstances, the believer may have very little insight regarding God’s intentions. How, therefore, should the believer react to this kind of challenge?

There is one essential truth to keep in mind when we are enduring the kind of testing I’ve just described. We must keep our focus on what we know to be true. We know, for example, that God’s nature makes Him incapable of treating His children unjustly or in a manner designed to do them harm just for the sake of harm.

Our eyes and ears may be telling us that we have been abandoned. Our observations may lead us to conclude that God is favoring the wicked over His own child. But, as noted, God’s righteous nature and the everlasting validity of His promises make this kind of explanation absolutely invalid.

When we find ourselves in discouraging situations where our discernment is weak and the test we are facing is severe, we should turn our attention to the nature of God. By doing so, our fears will be subdued and our doubts about God’s regard for us will be vanquished. Dwelling on that which we know to be true—the holy character of God and, therefore, the holy character of His works—establishes stability in our heart. We may not know much about what God is doing at the moment, but we will know that His unchanging nature guarantees that His plan is perfect in all respects.

This is the pattern seen in the writings of David. He reveals the anxiety that has filled his mind and he confesses his doubts regarding God’s activity in his present crisis. But as these Psalms continue, David turns to the nature of God and quickly finds that place of peace and assurance as he reviews the truth of God’s holy character. David creates a proper perspective from which to analyze his trial and that results in a dramatic change in his demeanor.

Simply put, there are times in our lives when faith must overrule sight. There are circumstances in which our perception is flawed and, therefore, we need to find steady ground on which to stand as we consider our predicament. Faith, which is grounded in the trustworthiness of God’s revelation of Himself, is the element that allows us to place our burden of uncertainty before God and wait for His will to run its course.

Remember this important verse: “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” (Heb. 11:1, emphasis added) Your ability to perceive the intentions of God has nothing to do with the stability of your soul during a trial. Your stability, your confidence, your hope, and your expectation rest in the truth of God’s holy nature.