Are you feeling far away from God?
Has life brought you to a dark valley?
Trials and hard times in our lives can tempt us to question God’s goodness and even distance ourselves from Him. With so much emphasis on God’s love and prosperity in mainstream Christianity, it’s easy to become discouraged by the trials that come our way.
When God first prompted me to study His goodness, I fully understood the attributes of God that are big and impersonal- His sovereignty, majesty, omniscience, and omnipotence- the ones where He rules over all and sits on His throne overseeing the world. But I lacked an understanding of the comforting and personal side of Him- His compassion, gentleness, love, and goodness.
I was in the thick of what I call trials within trials. Anxiety was plaguing me, we were in the thick of things with my oldest son and trying to homeschool with an infant and a toddler, and my hubby’s job was at its most stressful point. All three had been ongoing trials that weaved in and out of my life for many years.
The sovereign side of God brought me great comfort as I was experiencing those trials. Knowing God was totally and fully in control of everything and already knew the outcome kept me sane. That perspective makes the world of difference when you are in the midst of difficult circumstances.
But it’s confusing when the sovereign God who is in control of everything is allowing year after year of trial after trial. We need a shift in thinking to understand the gentleness, compassion, goodness, and love of God. And that exactly what God led me to do. As I began digging into what the Bible had to say about goodness, He quickly showed me 3 things.
First, goodness is an attribute of God.
God is good. Period. Goodness is a character trait of God- the trials and hard times don’t define Him. Goodness is a part of his character, right along with being sovereign and just. So that means that all He brings to us or allows in our life will be used for our benefit. Romans 8:28 and 29 tell us that all things work for the good of those who love God, those who are called according to His purpose. This means that the trials and hard times aren’t there to hurt or destroy us even if they threaten to. God often uses the trials and hard times to grow and mature us, to draw us to himself, and to provide assurance of salvation.
Second, there are 3 parts to goodness.
The first part is experiencing God’s goodness directly from him as in a sunrise or a car breaking down before a disaster struck. These are things that we know are from God himself that do not involve other people. These leave me in awe of God and feeling known, loved, and cared for.
The second part is experiencing His goodness through other people. This can look like receiving a meal or an encouraging card. God often works through other people. You can identify this kind when it’s things other people to that speak to you. An example would be those Facebook Bible verse images and blog posts or songs that speak directly to us.
The third part is how we develop the character trait of goodness ourselves. This allows God to use us to show His goodness to others around us. We experience God’s goodness so that we can show God’s goodness to others. These are the promptings of the Holy Spirit to send that note, drop off that meal, gift a copy of a book, etc.
Third, there are 3 different meanings of goodness.
As seen in both the Old and New Testaments, 3 meanings are developed throughout the Bible. Each meaning shows us how goodness applies to God’s character, God’s character shown to us through other people, and finally as God’s character within us.
The first meaning is good things. God gives us good things. He prompts others to give us good things. We are called to give good things to others because we have been given good things.
The second meaning is things that are excellent, admirable, pleasant, and prosperous as well as our actions. God’s character and actions are excellent, admirable, pleasant, and prosperous. Other’s actions help us experience God’s goodness. We help other people experience God’s goodness through our excellence, admirable, pleasant, and prosperous behavior.
The third meaning communicates an uprightness of heart and life. it also shows goodness as kindness and faithfulness. Again we see this as God’s character, other’s character towards us, and our own character.
Still think God’s goodness doesn’t apply to you because your life is hard?
I’d like to invite you to take a journey through the Bible to discover the connection between the difficult times in your life and God’s goodness. Throughout this devotional series you’ll learn:
- how to identify God’s goodness in your life
- the purpose of God’s goodness
- the 3 meanings of goodness throughout the Bible
- how it applies to your lives
- and more!
Each Sunday, you will receive an email that includes a devotional, a passage of scripture for deeper reading, and a journal prompt. Using what you learn, you will then write down a way you have experienced God’s goodness each day on the free printable keepsake tracking sheets (1 for each month) where you can write down one way you have experienced God’s goodness in your life each day.
Being aware of God’s moving and working in your life can be perspective-shifting and life-changing. The challenge here is to identify something God’s doing in your life every day.
Embark on an incredible journey this year! Discover God’s goodness in your life through devotions and journal prompts in this 52 week Bible Study.