The Goodness of God

Recently, I spoke at a gathering, themed: “Our lies, God’s Truth.” As I prepared my talks, I studied, aiming to find women in the Bible who believed the same lies that individuals still struggle with today. Certainly, Eve did, as I discussed in last week’s blog. She believed that God's Word was not Truth. But Eve believed another lie as well. Consider Satan’s additional statement: “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” The essence of this lie was that God was withholding something from her—something good. And if God could withhold something good from her, is He indeed really good?

While we may be hard on Eve, the world is still tempted to believe this common lie. God withholds something from us, maybe even something inherently good, and the assumption is that He Himself is not good. Or God allows disease, death, natural disasters, and thus, God is blamed. Consider the question two other women made in Scripture. After their brother Lazarus’ death, both Martha and Mary asked Jesus, upon His arrival in Bethany, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died” (John 11:21,32). Is that necessarily true? Do we know that Jesus would have healed Lazarus had He come sooner or was that just wishful thinking? Nothing was inherently wrong with their desire. It was good, and it came from a place of deep love for their brother. In fact, Scripture repeatedly tells us to pray boldly. (Hebrews 4:16, 1 Thessalonians 5:17, James 5:16) Further, we know that Jesus could have healed Lazarus sooner. Yet, we also know that Jesus did not heal every person in the areas He travelled. His miracles were always for a specific reason—to demonstrate His authority as the Son of God. But just like Martha and Mary, we are tempted to say, If Jesus had been here I would have … or if Jesus was really good I would have … or if Jesus loved me I would have… or even, if I had more faith Jesus would have… We can fill in the blank. Truly, we are implying that He is not all good if we don’t have…


As I contemplated the reasons Jesus does not always act to reverse the natural order of things in this fallen world, the account of Martha and Mary gave me one—while in this instance Jesus did ultimately raise Lazarus from the dead, His timing and manner provided what they really needed! Martha was able to proclaim Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God, before the miracle. She was able to declare Him Lord, in other words, trust Him, while her brother remained in the grave. Mary was able to experience Jesus’ compassion as He entered her pain, weeping before performing the miracle. She experienced Jesus’ love in an intimate way that she would have missed had He come sooner. God was indeed good to them, but in a way that extended beyond their plans. We have to trust that when we pray, God is good to us. So yes, we should pray and fill in the blanks with our desires, but do so trusting Him.  Our prayer will let us experience with Him, His goodness, and it allows us to enjoy the blessing of awaiting His purposes to come to pass. He does not delay because Jesus can’t, or won’t love us, or even that we don’t have enough faith that we don’t see our prayer answered in the way we want. Rather, simply, Jesus has something better. Jesus is truly with us, and He is good all the time.