The Goodness of God
As we jump into the goodness of God I just want to point out how interesting the timing is.
Our world is completely different today than it was a few years ago and people are currently in their homes and doing things very differently. There is a lot of change in the economy, in the world, and a lot of sick people.
I think it is time to focus on the goodness of God.
Our tendency when thinking about the goodness of God is to try and decide about His goodness based on whether or not we see Him around us and in our circumstances. We take our experiences, understanding, and emotions regarding those circumstances to determine whether or not God is good. Unfortunately, that is us using our understanding for the bottom line, which unless you are God, is a really shaky bottom line.
I am reminded of the verse that talks about faith as the evidence of things not seen. The Bible says in Psalm 34: 8 “Oh taste and sees that the Lord is good.” not that He might be, could be, or only if your circumstance backs up that statement, but no matter what he is good. “Oh taste and sees that the Lord is good: blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him.” Psalm 34: 8
As we are beginning this article, I want us to come from a foundation of the truth. We are going to need faith to believe in that truth because sometimes it doesn’t line up with our experience. If we believe in the truth of the Bible and that the truth of what God says is real whether we understand it or not, then we can start with the foundation of knowing the Lord is good. Even if our circumstance or understanding seems to indicate that He is not. That is just a sign that we cannot understand everything from the perspective of a Holy creator of the universe. I choose to, and I hope you choose to align how you operate based on having faith that the Lord is good.
Let’s jump back to Psalm 34:8. I want to dig into this verse. As I was thinking about this verse, I considered the idea of tasting something to see if it is good or not. Do you have a favorite recipe that you can always count on to be delicious every time? People in your family might look forward to you making this certain dish. I have my own recipe like this and it is a Raspberry Cream Pie. I haven’t had it in a while, but now that I’m thinking about it I might need to make it soon! There is the vanilla wafer crust, then you mix a vanilla custard layer that is rich and sweet. Next, you top it off with a sauce made from homegrown raspberries cooked with sugar and then mixed with fresh berries. Chill it all in the fridge and eat it cold. It is the perfect combination of crunch, cream, rich, sweetness, and tartness of the raspberries. Every time I eat a piece of that pie it is heaven! I was thinking that if I was going to come up with something that tasted like the Lord is good it would be that Raspberry Cream Pie. And yet, God’s goodness tastes way better than that. Maybe your thing isn’t Raspberry Pie. Maybe it is something else that you love to cook that is just amazing every time. Tasting the goodness of God is better than any recipe you have.
The first difference between the Raspberry Cream Pie and the goodness of God is that not everybody loves raspberry pie. In fact, I have a friend that hates nearly all fruits and vegetables and she is not a fan of the pie. Psalm 145:9 says The Lord is good to all. His mercy is over all that He has made. I am comforted by the fact that His goodness is available to all. Men, women, healthy sick, children, and in fact it says over all that He has made. Everything in creation is able to partake in His goodness. I don’t understand how that works, especially when we evaluate it against the difficult things in our lives, but I start with the truth of the Bible and base my thoughts around that truth. The Lord says that we will have suffering and yet we can find His goodness in difficult circumstances. We can see Him helping us, causing us to grow, and His mercy if we are willing to look for it. That is my encouragement, it isn’t the other way around. The Lord’s goodness is present and available to everyone.
The second way that that pie is different is that it is subject to human error. If I am cooking that pie, I might overcook the crust. If I overcook the custard and the eggs scramble it creates a nasty texture. Maybe I scorch the berries and let them overcook. At any moment, I can make a mistake and it won’t taste very good, and yet God’s goodness is something we can count on. Psalm 23:6 says Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. I think this is a challenge for us. This is a place to put the goodness of God in our everyday life and show that to others. I think about how Jesus suffered and yet He still showed goodness and mercy all the days He lived on Earth. Can we do that? Am I being an example of God’s goodness in everything I do and say? That is a pretty big challenge. It seems like a worthy goal though and who I really want to be as a mom, wife, friend, co-worker, leader.
I want others to be able to count on my goodness. I was thinking about different people in my life, and I am sure you have some, too, who rise to the occasion well. One of my brothers has a reputation for jumping on a plane and coming whenever someone is sick. If there is someone sick in the hospital, he puts down what he is doing and jumps on a plane. It is a reputation of goodness. I have a friend that has a reputation for bringing chocolate chip cookies with a meal if someone is having a tough time. I have a child that is willing to hand out unlimited hugs. This child has a reputation for showing love. Do you have a goodness reputation? I have a reputation for coaching on social media. My mom has a goodness reputation for sending encouraging notes to people. What is your goodness reputation?
The third thing is that God can work things for good that we were not planning on. Think back to that pie and consider that maybe you are trying to feed 9 people. The pie is cut into 8 slices, and the 9th person gets a piece of stale bread, that isn’t so tasty. 8 people got delicious pie, 1 person got stale bread… that’s not fair. That isn’t how God works. God can use everything we go through for good. Romans 8:28 says And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. I don’t know if you feel like you are getting raspberry pie or stale bread in life right now, but I encourage you to think about what would you equate it to? What would you say your current place in life is and equate it to a piece of food that you can taste. Can you taste it and see that the Lord is good? God can take that stale piece of bread and turn it into something amazing.
I think back to when I was struggling to homeschool, my kids. I had 7 kids in 5 different grades. I was trying to do it all on my own. Sometimes tasting God’s goodness comes after we choose to be obedient. On a particular day that we were trying to figure out what to do about school I was having an argument with my husband and I was pretty insistent that I wanted to do something else. He was adamant that we were going to do it homeschool anyway. I had to surrender and let that go. I had to obey my husband and we prayed about the situation. I didn’t know how I would homeschool all my kids, but God was calling me to surrender to Him and not insist on my own way. It certainly didn’t feel like raspberry cream pie at the moment, it felt like stale bread but I surrendered to Him.
Later that afternoon there was a girl at the Bible school that came up to me and said that she felt like the Lord was asking her to help teach a few of my kids and in exchange have free room and board. She was not in the most stable place of life and was willing to contribute. We felt called to let her live with us and help me teach our kids. Not only that, but I ended up having foot surgery and was off my feet for 3 months that year. I can look back at that and see that God is always using things for good. He brings goodness out of everything and that is something we can always count on. We have to be willing to obey Him and step out and say yes even if we don’t feel like it or understand. We have to base our decisions on the fact that He is good, not on the experience, circumstance, or fear of how it will turn out.
God is good to all and we can count on that. I encourage you to look for ways that you can model that goodness to others in your life this week and take comfort in these verses that He is a good good Father. He is worthy of our praise, trust, and us being an example for others.
As a bonus: if the Raspberry Cream Pie sounds delicious, I’ve added the recipe here:
Mary’s Raspberry Cream Pie
A homemade pie that requires patience and care, but it always pays off!
1 ⅓ cups vanilla wafer crumbs
2 Tablespoons sugar
5 Tablespoons butter, melted
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
⅓ cup sugar
4 ½ Tablespoons flour
Pinch of salt
1 ½ cups half n’ half
5 egg yolks, beaten
4 ½ Tablespoons butter
1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ½ Tablespoon powdered sugar
4 cups fresh raspberries
⅔ cups sugar
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
Combine the first four ingredients; press into the bottom and sides of an ungreased 9 inch pie pan. Bake at 350’ for 8-10 minutes or until the crust just begins to brown. Cool.
In a saucepan, combine sugar, flour, and salt. Gradually whisk in cream; cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir 2 minutes more. Gradually whisk half into egg yolks; return all to pan. Bring to a gentle boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in butter and vanilla until butter is melted. Cool 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour into crust; sprinkle with powdered sugar. Chill 30 minutes or until set.
Meanwhile, crush 2 cups of raspberries in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil. Boil 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Press berries through sieve; set aside 1 cup juice (add water if necessary). Discard pulp. In a saucepan, combine sugar and cornstarch. Gradually stir in raspberry juice; bring to a boil. Boil 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; cool 15 minutes. Gently stir in remaining raspberries; carefully spoon over filling. Chill 3 hours or until set. Store in the refrigerator.
Makes 1 9 inch pie, or 8 servings.
(If you buy the smaller premade Nilla Wafer crusts, get two and add 1 more cup of fresh berries to the topping at the end. Split the filling and topping between the two.)
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