What we know of God during the good times often gets tested during the bad.
Life is sure to bring us challenges, trials, perhaps even tragedies. And it’s in those seasons that we might question whether God is as good as we once thought he was. While our minds know he is good, it’s possible our hearts are left wondering.
Perhaps we are a little like children — like a child who knows his parents love him, but questions their goodness when forced to do homework, eat vegetables, take naps, do chores, take medicine, stay with a babysitter, or do any other “painful” thing.
But instead of filtering our trials through the eyes of a child, what if we filter them from the perspective of parenthood? Clearly any normal parent unquestionably loves his child through and through. Parents want nothing but good for their kids; they hurt when their child hurts (even when parents must allow, or even cause pain in their child’s life). Regardless of what a child thinks, he is in good loving hands when at the mercy of his parents.
So we are in God’s. For he is our Heavenly Father. And that says a lot about his goodness, even when we’re facing pain.
Trust Your Heavenly Father
The parent analogy is fitting in that the Bible repeatedly refers to God as our Father (Matthew 6:9, Luke 11:11-13, Matthew 5;16-17). Even if you had unloving parents, you can imagine what a good dad would be like — and God is far beyond that. One of the most helpful passages in understanding God’s fatherly love is Matthew 7:11, which says:
If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!
Realistically, parents are flawed (and some more than others). So in one sense parenthood isn’t a good example of heavenly love. But that’s what makes God’s goodness so trustworthy–he is not flawed. The goodness of the most loving parent still pales in comparison to God’s generous perfect love.
All that to say, if a child should trust the goodness of his flawed (but loving) parents, a child of God should never doubt his Heavenly Father’s.
The Practical Side of God’s Love
We may not always detect how our Heavenly Father shows his goodness. So how involved is he in the midst of our trials?
Surely the cross reminds us that God is willing to go to great lengths to care for us. But that extreme form of sacrificial love only speaks of some of his fatherly care.
Our God is intimately acquainted with our lives (Psalm 139). Just as a father has compassion on his children, so does God have compassion on his kids (Psalm 103:13). He is there to comfort us in the valley of the shadow of death (Psalm 23:4). He promises to never leave or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5-6). Even that which doesn’t seem good, he promises to use for our good (Romans 8:28). And his care for us extends to knowing the number of hairs on our head (Matthew 10:30)!
God’s love, his goodness, his care, his compassion — is perfect, faithful and abundant. Needless to say, it blows the love of an earthly father out of the water!
So does it make sense to question God’s goodness and love in the face of challenges, trials and tragedies? I would think not. The example of parenthood is all we need to remember that God is good no matter what happens.
When you find yourself momentarily doubting God’s goodness, just remember he is your Father. A perfect one at that. And that should say it all.