Can God really be good all the time? We know that we are a combination of good and bad. We may assume that God is too.
In life there are good and bad things.
Experiences. People. Jobs. Food. Teachers. Pets. Bosses. Trips. Clothes. Even years.
We label things good and bad.
Placing them in the good pile or the bad pile, with few things going on the in-between, or indifferent pile.
We liberally use the thumbs up or down.
But things can change categories. Something that was good last year, like fashion, songs, or food, can be bad and out of date the next season. The destination we deemed as the best trip ever, can the next time be a big disappointment. The current influencer who last month had millions of followers, can overnight be cancelled.
It can be confusing. It can be hard to keep up with. And sometimes it makes our heads spin.
Especially as someone’s good things can be someone else’s bad things. Your favorite dish can cause an allergic reaction in another. Or maybe just cause them to wrinkle their nose and stop eating. Your outfit liked by one friend, can be called lame by another friend.
Not everything is universally liked or disliked. Named good or bad.
Can God really be good all the time?
It was from a movie, about ten years ago, that I first heard the saying: “God is good all the time. All the time, God is good.”
If someone had asked me if God was good, I of course would have said yes. But if someone had asked me is God good all the time? Well, that would have had me thinking. I might have been tempted to say, “let me get back to you with the answer later.”
Partly because it feels like a trick question. And partly because I don’t see everything related to him through the lens of good. I want to hold out and say, “Yes, but what about that one time . . . or what about this?”
At the time, a friend was going through a hard trial and a few of us had been praying for her for months.
Somehow the saying came up during our next small group.
I said I had never heard the saying before hearing it in the movie.
My friend explained that it could be used to reassure us about God.
Either God is good all the time. And we can always trust him. Or he is only good part of time, and we don’t know when we can trust him. And if that is the case, then he is not good all the time.
Just think about it, she said. Even if he is not good just once, how can we place our trust in him. How can we believe what he says or does is really for our good? Because if he is untrustworthy once, he will be again.
It sounded a little like circular reasoning at the time, but it has come to reassure me and give me great comfort.
And through our friend’s trial, it became something to hold onto. Something we reminded each other. And she reminded herself.
Humans are different than God.
Humans break their word. They disappoint. They fail us.
We all have good and bad within us. Do good and bad things. That is part of being human.
None of us can be good all the time. None of us can not disappoint. None of us is 100% trustworthy.
Because we are human. Fallible. Unable to be perfect. No matter how much we try.
We hear God is good. Full of goodness. Always good. Has no evil in him. And it is hard to comprehend. Because no one on earth is like this.
We question how this can be.
We question others, and they question us.
We have been disappointed by people, and figure God will disappoint us.
We know that our heart is not good all the time. That in it lies both good and bad. And we wonder if God is the same way. Assuming he is.
Is it even possible to be good all the time?
Have you met anyone perfect? Always good? Always trustworthy?
And if you did, would you be able to see this trait in them?
I doubt it.
Jesus was perfect. And people questioned him. Liked and disliked him. Had divided opinions about him. Accused him. They certainly did not see him as perfect.
And yet if we are going to believe what the bible says about him, he was perfect.
Perfect all the time.
It’s a choice. I can choose to believe God is good all the time, or I can choose to believe that sometimes he slips up and is not good. If the latter is the truth, then I won’t know when I can trust him. When he is working all things to my good and when he is not. When he is doing what is best for me, and when he is not.
And if he is not good all the time, then how can I trust him to always love me. To be on my side. To tell me the truth. To have all the answers. To answer my prayers. To have more grace than I will ever need.
If he sometimes is good and sometimes is bad, then I can’t.
We don’t always understand the truth.
I don’t understand gravity, but I know it is true.
There hasn’t been one thing I have dropped that hasn’t landed on the ground. There hasn’t been one time I jumped, that I stayed afloat.
I don’t understand how someone can be good all the time. Love me all the time. Listen to multiple prayers. Or be redeeming me and all I do, but I know it is true.
My job is not to figure out how it is true. My job is to try and gain eyes that begin to see how everything God does is good. To read the bible and not judge his actions as good or bad but try and see how his actions are good and right.
No, I will never understand it totally.
Nor do I need to understand it to believe and live like it is true.
Will at times I have questions? Of course. I can even take these questions to God and like David, question him, because that is part of having a conversation. And God wants to have conversations with us.
I won’t always know how what God is doing is always good. Because I don’t see things through his lenses, as a human I have way less than half the story, while he sees the whole story from beginning to end.
Without God’s goodness, things would be worse.
So often we treat God like the president. Blaming him for every bad thing and giving him zero credit for anything good.
Bad things happen in this world because we are sinful. Because we have the power to make choices. Because we live in a broken world. And because our actions affect more than just us.
But just because bad things happen to us and those around us, does not mean that God is not good. Or that he approves and orchestrates all this unpleasant stuff.
Frankly, without God and his care for us and his creation, his universal grace to all humanity, his love and plan for us, life and this world would be much worse than we currently experience.
Do you understand how many bad things God holds back and redirects in this world?
When we are in a trial and feel overwhelmed, we have no concept of all the behind work that God stops from taking place to protect us and make things better than they would be.
Remember Job? God only allowed Satan to do certain things. He was not to cross a set upon boundary.
Why do we think it is different for us? We work behind the scenes helping our kids to succeed. Whether it is hanging up their coat, so they can find it the next day; talking to their teacher to explain something; not telling the whole story of the death of a pet, or forgetting to play the winning card so they can win, we help protect, ensure the success, and alleviate the pain of those we love. And so does God.
Is God good all the time? Yes, he can’t help but be good all the time because that is his nature.
Bad things happen in this world, and always by some magical unexplainable way, he works those hardships to our good. He doesn’t eliminate the pain and suffering, but he helps lessen it, walks with us through it, and comforts us and saves our tears. And always, he is redeeming our pain, our wounds, and hardships so that they bless us and others. He uses it all to mold us into people who better reflect his image.
Now if that isn’t good and above and beyond. I don’t know what is.
I may not understand all God does, or how all he does is good in this life, but I don’t have to. My job is to trust he is good. Know his motivations and intentions are always good. Learn to see life and things through his good eyes.
And one day I will truly see that all he did was good.
Remember that you are loved more than you can imagine,
Join the Discussion: What are your thoughts about God’s always and forever goodness?
May link up at Maree Dee (#Grace & Truth), Anita Ojeda (#inspirememonday), InstaEncouagements ((IE Link-Up), and Jeanne Takenaka (#tellhisstory).
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Lois Flowers says
Theresa, God’s goodness is one of those foundational attributes of God that I find so comforting. You’re right … either He’s good all the time or we can’t trust Him. Like you, I choose to believe in His goodness. I can’t imagine living any other way. P.S. Your beautiful photos are making me long for spring!
Lois, It is a fundamental attribute of God. Like you, I can’t imagine any other way. I am longing for spring too.
Aimee R Monette says
Yes! God is good always! He never promised us an easy life, but He did promise eternity at his side.
We can perceive what we’re experiencing to be negative but God knows the whole plan, just as you said. We see to the fence, but He can see far beyond it. All things will work for His good and as we grow in our faith it becomes easier to look back on hardship and see his hand through it all. Thankfully He walks with us through the difficulties, and holds onto us even when we want to run away.
Theresa Boedeker says
Aimee, thanks for your comments. I think that is one lie we often buy into, that if God is good we will have an easy life. I used to think this. But I don’t see any character in the Bible having an easy life. So what makes me think somehow I will escape the hard parts of life. The parts that grow us and develop our character and cause us to run to God for help? Life won’t be easy, but he is with us and helping us if we allow him too. And that does make life easy in many ways.
Ashley Rowland | HISsparrowBlog says
“God’s always and forever goodness”…I love how you put that. When I clicked on the title of your post, it was making me think of that line from the movie. It can be such a comfort, as your friend said, to remember that God is good all the time and, therefore, we can trust Him, but it can also be hard to remember and understand that any entity could be good always. Wonderful reminders, Theresa, that we don’t have to understand everything to believe it and draw comfort from it.
Ashley, let’s just say it is beyond my tiny brain to understand it all or how it all works. But I do draw comfort from this fundamental truth about God.
Linda Stoll says
‘My job is not to figure out how it is true.’
Yes. This is where faith steps in. Trust builds. Our hands open and release all our questions and agendas.
And in that place lies freedom and peace. My mind can’t grasp ‘things too lofty for me to attain.’
Well said, Linda. “Our hands open and release all our questions and agendas.
And in that place lies freedom and peace.”
Lisa notes says
Life isn’t always easy, but it makes a huge difference to me to know that God is always good, regardless of what happens. Thanks for this encouragement, Theresa!
Thanks, Lisa. We tend to think an easy life and God being good go together. But we can have a hard life and God can still be good.
Barbara Harper says
Your flower photos are gorgeous, especially the columbine.
I think it’s easy to start off taking by faith that God is good—until something happens that doesn’t seem good, to us or someone we love. It’s hard to reconcile God’s goodness with certain things that happen in this world. But then, as you said, God gave us a will, which is affected by a sinful nature, which will act against other people at times. When I sometimes wonder why God allowed this or that, I have to remind myself that this isn’t heaven. It’s not til we get there that there will be no more pain or sorrow or crying. Meanwhile, He promises His grace and help for whatever He allows. When we don’t always understand His ways, we can always trust His character.
So true, “When we don’t always understand His ways, we can always trust His character.” Yes, the hard times have us wondering. But then I also think if he stops something bad from happening in my life, then he needs to do it everyone’s life, and that is not free will and allowing the consequences of sin, death, and our choices to develop. Sometimes we want it both ways, to have nothing bad happen to us and those we love, and also be free to choose to do what we want to do. I also have to remind myself that God’s will is not for marriages to end in divorce, for people to hate and fight one another, for envy to separate friends, and death and disease to run us down, but they all happen in this world because we don’t do live in love.
Jeanne Takenaka says
Theresa, I never thought about the idea of how, if God wasn’t good all the time, we wouldn’t be able to trust Him any of the time. I love this concept and the comfort it brings. Eyes opened and brain processing. 🙂
Jeanne. This was a mind opening concept for me too.
Karen Friday says
Theresa, I love this. Such a needed message for both believers and unbelievers. It’s chilling to think that God could only be good part of the time. Things would certainly be worse as you noted. One thing I remind myself and others is this truth, Good is not only something God does, but also who He is. Goodness can never be separated from His character. Then He wouldn’t be the one true God.
As I read your post, I kept thinking of God’s sovereignty. His goodness is in His sovereignty. I think that is how I have reconciled, in my human state, the “bad” things that happen when God is in control. In our world it may seem bad, but God is sovereign and knows all. It really comes down to trusting Him completely with all! And that there is a much bigger picture than we will know.
Such a great point, Lynn. God sees the much larger picture. Just like our children don’t often understand our reasons for saying yes or no, because they can’t see the big picture, the same is true of God and us as his children.