O give thanks unto the LORD; for He
is good; for his mercy endureth for ever.
(1 Chronicles 16:34)
When you start out with the wrong premise, you're going to end up with the wrong conclusion every time. Therefore, we need to get one premise firmly fixed in our head: God is good ALL THE TIME!
It seems like it is just too easy for us to allow circumstances to alter our way of thinking, so that we begin to question and doubt God's goodness. Or think maybe He's good to others, but not to me.
Some years ago I was counseling a woman who felt so distant from God. She felt like God had abandoned her, and her prayers were just hitting the ceiling and going no farther. She wondered why God wasn't responding, though she was fervently praying. In the course of talking to her, I asked her some questions about how she felt about God. Did she believe that God is good, all the time? She replied of course she does.
As we talked, she told me of many events in her life that she felt showed God's lack of interest in her and His refusal to answer her prayers. Each time,
I asked her: Do you think God was good at that time? At first she automatically answered “Yes, of course He was”, but as we went on her answers
became more ambiguent: “Yes, I guess so”. Finally, she told me about a traumatic event in her youth that involved sexual abuse by a relative. I
gently asked her again: “Do you think God was good when that happened to you?” With tears rolling down her face, she replied “No, He wasn't! Why would He let that happen to me?”
It's a legitimate question. Why does God allow horrific things to happen, especially to innocent children? If He is truly all-powerful and if He truly loves us, why
didn't He stop this from happening? I don't have an answer to that; nobody does. We have probably all felt that way at some time. But when we
allow the traumatic event to change our view of God, when we believe God is not good for allowing this to happen, or that He was not powerful
enough to stop it from happening, or that He doesn't really love us, then we've created a lesser god in our minds. We've allowed a horrible circumstance
to alter our view of God, and make Him less than Almighty, less than loving and caring, less than good.
When we've allowed our circumstances to change our image of God, we've turned Him into someone just like us: changeable, sometimes blind, and sometimes powerless. Someone we can't really trust.
This is a sin against the very nature and being of God. How can we have a deep and intimate relationship with a god we cannot trust? Our view of God cannot be dictated by the things that happen to us. Sinful man can use and abuse, but God is good. Man can hurt and destroy, but God is good. Man can be evil, but God is good.
We do not know why God allows terrible things to happen, but we do know that He promises to redeem them, to make all things beautiful again, to reverse the ravages of sin and restore us from all the things that have happened to us. He promises to “restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten”. (Joel 2:25) He promise to give us beauty for ashes, and the oil of joy for our mourning. (Isaiah 61:3) He promises that instead of shame we shall have double, because He loves justice. (Isaiah 61:7-8) He promises to array us in fine linen, clean and white. (Rev. 19:8)
There are so many things God promises to us, letting us know that He is not blind or uncaring when horrible things happen, but that justice will be served one day and all things will be made right. We have to cling to His promises, allow Him to heal us, and truly fix it in our hearts forever, that no matter what happens, GOD IS GOOD, ALL THE TIME! Amen!