THE GOODNESS OF GOD
By: Paul Anderson
What if God was so good that…
when you experienced bad things, He overturned them with good?
you became good like God and imitated His kindness?
you received so much that all you could do in your prayers was to thank Him?
negative talk left your vocabulary because you didn’t need it?
His goodness came out somehow wherever you went?
instead of getting upset with your spouse you got good?
you soaked your problems in His goodness?
Am I in dreamland? God gave Paul a revelation of His goodness. He wrote, “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us” (Eph. 3:20). Sounds like there’s more!
The psalmist wrote, “O taste and see that the Lord is good” (Psalm 34:8). You cannot experience taste vicariously. The goodness of God is not something to explain as much as to experience. We can talk about God’s goodness because we experienced it and were satisified. Those who haven’t sound hollow when they talk, like the preacher who changes his tone because he is speaking of something foreign. There is no passion in his heart. His faith is as deep as his esophagus. Do you want to read the menu or taste the meal?
The prodigal left home without seeing how good his father was. When he experienced a cruel world, he returned. Then he tasted his father’s goodness. He was ashamed—and his father forgave him: “O give thanks to the Lord, for he good; for his mercy endures forever” (Ps. 107:1).
The prodigal experienced goodness by way of mercy. “For you, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive, and plenteous in mercy to all that call upon you” (Ps. 86:5). When my dad forgave me for messing up his car, it opened me up to receiving the Father’s mercy.
The prodigal also discovered generosity. All the things he wanted in the world he received from his dad—a party, nice clothes, sandals, a ring. The psalmist wrote, “O how abundant is your goodness, which you have laid up for those who fear you” (Ps. 31:19). God is prepared to pour out goodness from His storehouse.
“Every good and perfect gift comes down from the Father of lights…” (James 1:17). Jesus said, “Fear not, little flock. It is the Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32).
What if He targeted you? And you saw so much of it that it began to be reproduced in you. If no one is good but God, only God can manufacture it inside of us. And you gave it out like God. And the more you gave out the more came back. And the fruit of goodness grew in you.
Sadly, the elder brother received nothing. Here is his testimony: “…you have never given me a kid that I might make merry with my friends” (in other words, “have my own party”). He frustrated his dad’s kindness. Here is the father’s heart of goodness: “My son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours.” What if God said that to you? If we are joint heirs, it sounds like He did!
A wrong perception of the Father will keep you in spiritual poverty. The snake in the garden tampered with the goodness of God: “Did God really say…?” Eve bought the lie and bit the fruit. If pleasure or pain messes with your perception of God, you will shut off the storehouse of goodness, and like the elder brother, you won’t have any to give away.
A right perception will open up the treasure. David said, “Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with blessings” (Ps. 68:19). Because he experienced it in the midst of his struggles, he talked to himself and said, “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits” (Ps. 103:2). Then he named a bunch. I am not talking theory when I say this. I am experiencing the goodness of God. I hope you are too.
David said, “I would have despaired unless I had seen the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living” (Ps. 27:13). God’s goodness keeps His children from discouragement. In fact, we can’t get away from it: “Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life.” Goodness tracks me down like a hound.
What if God’s goodness changed people from the inside out, and He asked you to represent Him? The essence of spiritual warfare is bringing heaven down, not hell up. Because of the Spirit, you are good at goodness. People are more desperate to know how good God is than how bad the devil is.
What if your spouse drove you crazy and you retaliated by doing good? If it is God’s goodness that leads people to repentance, how much goodness do they need from you? What if you soaked your problems in God’s goodness? What if with every trial you opened the storehouse? What if you overcame your depression with God’s goodness?
Impossible? Paul said “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him, but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit” (I Cor. 2:9,10). God is so good that Satan had to deceive Eve to pull her away. He is so good that once you get it the fight is over. Once you submit to the goodness of God, resistance with the enemy works. This is by far your biggest challenge—to consistently overcome evil with good. You can get good at this!
Is there enough goodness to go around? I think so: “The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord” (Ps. 33:5). Jeremiah said, “I will make an everlasting covenant with them; I will never stop doing good to them…I will rejoice in doing them good” (Jer. 32:40, 41). Let Him do it for you!