The Good Life

June 29, 2022

Over the last two years life has been very challenging. I bet you can identify. Many times I will run into someone I haven’t seen in a while and they will ask me, “How are things going? How’s the family? How’s the church?” You’ve likely had the same experience. The tendency for us is to casually answer, “Good. Good. God has been faithful. God has been good.”

What would cause me or anyone else to make such a statement? If we’re honest, most often it’s because things are working out in ways we believe are good: "My family is alive. I’m in good health. I’ve got money in the bank. We’re paying some bills, making progress.” You know what I mean. If things are up and to the right, that shapes our perspective.

Our tendency is to judge whether God is faithful or good based on what’s going on in our lives and what experiences we are having. How we feel emotionally, physically, mentally, and even spiritually impacts how we think about God and judge His faithfulness. This can make us unstable and anxious and strain our relationship with God.

Paul Tripp, pastor and counselor, tells us, “Through difficult relationships and circumstances, God works to expose your heart so you will seek the grace that can be found only in Him.”

Think about that. When you face unexpected difficulty, when things are not going as you wish, where does your mind go?

Certainly when that happens to any of us we are disappointed. None of us enjoys suffering. None of us enjoys dealing with the unexpected unless it’s a wonderful unexpected. Comfort, ease, and predictability are the typical flow of life we expect and desire. Difficulty and hardship are nothing we want or can even picture as good or positive. We are quick, then, to jump to the conclusion that God is sleeping on the job, off the throne, being unkind, impotent, or unfaithful. The normal person simply doesn’t value the good work that hardship and struggle can do in our lives. As a result, we find it very hard to track with God. We find ourselves struggling with His agenda and ours. If our goal is for life to be easy and go well, that tends to live in conflict with a Savior whose goals for us are quite different.

The first thing we need to settle is that God’s love never changes for us, regardless of the circumstances. “His faithful love endures forever!” (Psalm 118:11 NLT). A song says, “His love never runs out on me!” It’s never fickle. It never gets tired. This means it is never something to question. It is stable and secure.

The second thing we need to settle is the character of God. We need to decide to trust that God is good and wise. When we criticize what God is doing or what He is allowing, we are expressing doubt about His character. Dwelling on thoughts like these will not take you anywhere good. You will get further and further from God and will end in bitterness and loss.

Every time we are confronted with struggle and difficulty, we have a choice to make. We can focus on immediate gratification and our frustration and disappointment. When we do, we will derail or take a huge detour from His good plan. We will allow our dreams and personal plans to rule us, our moods, and our actions. In accusing HIM of unfaithfulness, we are unfaithful.

We will always have trials. That is a given in our broken world. The trials and struggles that infiltrate our lives do not come because He has forgotten us and is unfaithful to us. He loves us. He will always remember us. He has “carved you on the palms of His hands and He will never forget you” (Isaiah 89:16). He knows us, loves us, remembers us, and is changing us by His grace. When you remember that, you can have joy and find purpose (and even grow closer to your Father in the middle of the struggle.