bad things happen, basic lessons of life, calling God good, clearer picture of God, complaining, discerning good and bad, doubting the goodness of God, goodness of god, Jesus, Luke 18, only seeing bad, opinion of God, Plutarch quote, reality check, reason prayer fails, rich young ruler, suffering, thankful, tragedies
A young man tried to call Jesus “good” one day. We don’t know his motivations. Maybe he was flattering the Lord or maybe he honestly saw Jesus as being good. Jesus didn’t let the compliment sit. He corrected him. In all of Jewish history no rabbi was ever called “good“. This title was reserved for God and God alone. In the English language “good” and “God” are interchangeable. It is the extra “o”.
Jesus wanted to know why the young man called Him “good.” Jesus has a way to get to the heart of any issue. I don’t think Jesus was denying His Deity… He simply wanted this young man to give further thought on what he just said. Have you ever called something “good”, but knew in the moment you were making an over-exaggeration? The noun good in modern vocabulary gets tossed around far too often. It really doesn’t mean much anymore. Jesus was basically saying, “If you want to call Me good, then you must be willing to call Me God. If you will not call Me God, then you can’t call Me good!” In other words for Jesus, knowing God as being truly good was serious business. Jesus knew if a person knew God, they also knew good. If a person couldn’t discern good, it meant they didn’t know God.
In your estimation… has God always been good to you? Are you willing to call Him good, right now, in all things?
The “goodness” of God is one of the first and basic lessons we learn. Unfortunately, it doesn’t stick to us throughout our life. We have to relearn this lesson time and time again… I know I have had to start over. Your first prayer over meals was probably something like this… “God is great, God is good, let us thank Him for our food.” Did you ever learn the chorus: “God is so good, God is so good, God is so good, He’s so good to me?”
We are told things like this as children and then the hard realities of life kick-in and we begin to wonder if God is really good. The Bible constantly reminds us of God’s goodness. But just because the scriptures speak of something often, doesn’t mean it seeps down into our innermost being.
Here is the point… Continually being able to discern God’s goodness can prove to be difficult for many people. Sometimes we don’t see, detect, or even discern the goodness of God in certain situations, especially when something bad happens to us personally. When we experience a heartache, a tragedy or disappointment … it appears as though God isn’t so good. Why? Good is not happening to me!
- If God is so good, then why do tragedies happen?
- If God is so good, then why did my dad die of cancer or my mom develop Alzheimer’s?
- If God is so good, then why is there so much suffering in the world, right now?
- If God is so good, then why do bad things happen to “good” people?
- In fact, why does bad even have to exist?
Let me say, it is easy to see bad. I can have a thousand good things happen to me in one day and only focus upon the one bad problem. As I type this blog, it is 77 degrees and feeling nice… but I know I haven’t thanked the Lord for any of the good things He has given me today. Part of our problem is we spend too much of time complaining about the bad things around us and never spend a nanosecond thanking the Lord or rejoicing over the good we know He provides. If you are one of those people who can only discern the “bad” issues of life, you have larger issues which need addressing. True discernment detects both good and bad… and discerns the source.
I am going to discuss this more in my next blog but if you struggle with discerning the good and bad of life… maybe it is time to start over and get a clearer picture of God. You need an update! Your files have become corrupted. If the Bible is correct and God is indeed good, then no one can know true good without Him. He is our definition. He is our compass. He is our Northern Star. If we don’t know Him or understand Him, then we cannot truly know what is good. If we don’t really understand good, then we cannot detect bad either. Sound crazy? Stick with me because I believe this is one of the major reasons most believers don’t get immediate answers to their prayers…. they inwardly doubt the goodness of God. Yeah, Yeah… they say God is good, they sing it, and they even speak and teach it. The problem is …. inwardly they doubt it! In other words, they don’t believe in a good God. Nothing will cause your prayer life to sink, stink, or come to a crashing halt like doubting the goodness of God.
Hey, you either pray to a good God or you don’t. It is this cut and dry. More next time.
Blessings – From God’s Incubator,