Is God Good?

Do you believe God is good? 

Really, do you honestly, deep down to your core, wouldn’t hesitate for a moment to say, God is good? 

Do you live like you believe that? Have you directly applied to your life the belief that God is good, that He is capable of only good, and that all good things come from Him? 

How do you know? 

The Hebrew noun דָּעַת (daʿat, “knowledge”) is found throughout the book of Proverbs; it refers to experiential knowledge, not just cognitive knowledge. That means when they said they “know” something, they had put it into practice and lived it out; they had proven it to be true with experiential evidence.

I was once with a mother holding her freshly born, full-term, lifeless daughter. That baby was perfect in every precise way, except that there was no breath in her. 

Is God good?

My husband had to visit the morgue and identify the body of his young wife. She was 27-years-old and died in a car accident at a poorly lit, poorly trafficked intersection. 

Is God good?  

I watched my dad struggle with ragged breaths as his organs slowly shut down from years of alcoholism. Each moment until the end was unbearable pain. His soul left his body without a word of reconciliation, love, or tenderness. It just ended, completely fractured. 

Is God good? 

In high school my friend committed suicide in his bedroom closet after an awful breakup. 

Is God good? 

I know a little boy who was born with a disorder that exists completely within his mind; no one can see the internal struggles he battles every day. He asked me why God made him this way. 

Is God good?

It’s easy to say God is good when the sun is shining, but what about in the dark of night? Do you trust in His goodness then? 

What we believe about God affects the way we pray. We aren’t going to run to someone we don’t trust. We aren’t going to trust someone we believe to be evil, or at the very least, careless. What is the filter through which you see God, and how does that impact your prayer life?

Sometimes I have to start a prayer with a statement that I am struggling to believe is true. Like when I met that sweet baby girl, swaddled in her mama’s arms. In my mind I prayed, “God, I know you are good. I know you are hurting with us. I know you love us. This hurts so much. This world is so broken. Be near, God. Be near.”

Suffering reveals our most honest theology. And in the midst of suffering is when we desperately need prayer. There have been times in my life where the pain of a situation felt too unbearable, and my belief in a good God was so mixed up with my experience of a bad earthly father that I chose to shut God out of my suffering rather than invite Him in. I would harden my heart, thinking I was somehow protecting it, when in reality I was creating a shield of glass, sure to shatter from the tiniest crack. 

What I’ve learned as I’ve gotten to know God better, as I’ve read His Word, studied His character, and looked at the life of Christ, is that He is not a fragile god. He is not a bully nor a baby. I have learned to run to God with my words of anger, my words of fear, my words of doubt. He doesn’t shy away from our raw humanity. He formed it. He wants us. He wants us so deeply that He rescued us from ourselves. He created a bridge back to Himself that we never could have built. 

More than shallow words of faith, I think He just wants…words. He wants communication. If I don’t run to Him with my wounds, how can He heal them? If I’m praying a prayer I think I already have an answer to, why am I bothering to ask Him? I don’t have to have it all right in my mind or my heart before I can cry out to Him. This is how we build real words of faith.

When I believe He is good, I treat Him like He is good. I live in a way that points back to His goodness. When things are sweet and when they are bitter. Living like this, praying like this, creates not only growth in my own spiritual maturity, but also opportunities to share His goodness with those around me. 

Responding to suffering with peace, joy, and purpose is not normal. The world doesn’t understand it. They ask questions. Those questions are doorways into theology. We all believe something about God, even if we don’t believe there is a God. Suffering is a chance to display His goodness. 

Joseph Bayly said, “Don’t forget in the darkness what you learned in the light.” First, we must know (in the Hebrew sense of the word, experientially) what we actually believe about God, then we must live and pray like it’s true. 

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About Jen Hulbert

Jen Hulbert lives in Flagstaff, Arizona with her husband and favorite coffee date, Aaron. They serve together at Calvary Bible Church, where Aaron is the lead pastor. She homeschools her three boys and loves sharing the beauty of God’s creation with them by hiking the trails of the northern Arizona forest. Jen met Jesus at a young age, and as she gets to know Him better, discovers more of who she was intended to be. Creating the perfect playlist, well-timed puns, and all forms of organizing and categorizing are a few of her favorite things.

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