By Rev. John Campbell
United Presbyterian Church, Oakdale
When a major event happens, there are several stories of what happened. This is because each person has a particular perspective of how they view things. So when I say that “God is good, all the time”, I am speaking from my perspective concerning the goodness of God.
How often have we heard the thought that one ‘cannot believe in a God who allows…’, after some tragedy? Events like a still-born baby, the shooting of a child, the violence of rape, and so many other times. We deal with these events from deep within ourselves.
My definitions and perspectives have come to be by virtue of being born from above. When I accepted and believed that “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son”, I was changed, I was made a new creation. There was a time that I looked at my surroundings in a very negative way. God did not seem good at all. Yet in the midst of my darkness, God came to me revealing the love that sent Jesus Christ to the cross to bring me new life, a new beginning. And it is from this place that I can say that God is good.
When I looked at things from my point of reference, I cannot and do not see the good. Yet now when I step back and look at things with God in mind, I see a different picture. Here let me say that I may not understand, I may sorrow and cry over what is before me, yet from the definition of “good” – virtuous, right, commendable – I trust God.
In saying that God is good, I am saying that I believe in, trust, the character of the Almighty creator of the world. A German writer of old wrote: “that God is good, that he is good to me, enters into my heart only if I trust that he cares for his children beyond all that we ask or think and that I, too, am safe and secure in his goodness.” And John Calvin says: “For in the cross of Christ, …, the incomparable goodness of God is set forth before the whole world. The glory of God shines, indeed, in all creatures on high and below, but never more brightly than in the cross, in which there was a wonderful change of things — the condemnation of all men was manifested, sin blotted out, salvation restored to men.”
Abraham Heschel, a Jewish theologian, wrote: “This is the task: in the darkest night to be certain of the dawn, certain of the power to turn a curse into a blessing, agony into a song.” God does not need those who praise him when in a state of euphoria. He needs those who are in love with him when in distress.
To know God is the most important and meaningful relationship you can have. To know His goodness is inspiring—it fills us with hope, and it motivates us to live a life of meaning, confidence and purpose.