“So Good to Me” by Cory Asbury came out in 2008 in an album, Holy released with Matt Gilman. It was a song that my family and I enjoyed listening to and singing at our small church on the North Shore in Massachusetts. It is a fun song that has a choir vibe to it. It begs to be sung aloud and to sing along with others. It was a gentle reminder of the goodness of God that I’ve experienced in the past.
Today at church we had a husband-wife duet visiting from another church leading worship. They were singing a familiar song we sang often in 2018 called, “Goodness of God” by Jenn Johnson with Bethel Music. During an instrumental portion, the wife stopped the congregation as she prayed specifically for members who felt like they were an exception to the goodness of God. God is good to some people, just not them. This is a trap that I sometimes fall into.
It is a lie from the pit of hell.
The goodness of God is available for all. It is also something specifically promised to those who follow God and who have put their trust in Him for salvation. To me, the goodness of God is his supernatural blessing, provision and favor.
Each of those might sound like the same thing, but they are different and distinct. Let me explain.
The blessing of God is about how he preserves our joy. Joy is not being happy all the time. It is also not dependent on our circumstances. Joy is an ability to remain confident in God and His character despite circumstances and how things appear. It is an act of faith. Happiness is a feeling. Things are great. I got a promotion. I sold my house. Yay! Joy can be happiness when things are going well, but it really doesn’t dependent on things “working out” the way you want them to go. It is actually more like thankfulness. It is about appreciating all that you do have even when things don’t turn out. Yes, this situation is difficult, but God is still faithful. God is still good to me. Being blessed is walking in God’s faithfulness and goodness in every circumstance.
One “name” that God is referred to in several places throughout the Bible is Jehovah-Jireh, which literally mean, “The Lord will provide.” It can also be translated, “The Lord my provider.” Jesus commanded his disciples in the Sermon on the Mount not to worry about your needs, but instead to trust God. He calls out “the Lord my provider” to meet those needs:
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.Matthew 6:25-34 (English Standard Version)
Another big part of God’s goodness to me is how He provides. Throughout my life, when I was married, when we started having kids, and now after I was divorced, something I have consistently seen and be thankful to God is how He has provided for all of my needs and all of the needs of my family. We have always had enough. Enough money, enough food, enough clothes, all of our needs have been consistently met. Sometimes when I looked at things and worried “how is this going to work,” God always surprised me with His goodness to me. He is my Provider God.
Another aspect of the goodness of God that I have experienced is the favor of God. The favor of God is a little harder to pin down, but it’s kind of a straightforward concept. I don’t know what kind of family you grew up and what your relationship with your parents was like. In some homes, there is an expectation that you need to “earn” the love of your parents. That once you do something worthy, they will reward you. You will get recognition and love after you have done what’s expected of you. This is a conditional love that is provided. In the Kingdom of God, His love is unconditional. What you’ve earned is death and separation from God. There isn’t any earning it back. Instead, he gives you, through Jesus’s death on the cross, His unconditional love and favor. You receive the perfect righteousness of Christ in place of your sin. You can live from a place of his love instead of living for his love.
It is a subtle difference but it changes everything. You can be secure in His unconditional love for you rather than worrying about how He feels about you. You don’t have to be “super good” or jump through some hoops, instead, just like the love of a parent for their newborn child who only exists, he accepts you and loves you completely. Favor also works in the natural world with God. He promotes you. He puts you in a position to succeed in whatever you do. I have seen God orchestrate my steps and lead me into things that I didn’t understand until years later when I see His hand working for my benefit.
Today, as the worship leader prayed, I had to repent about the lie I was believing about feeling like an exception to the goodness of God. Has my life been perfect and free of any challenges? No. But that does not mean that God is not good and that He is not good to me. He is good and He has been good over and over. I can share about the multitude of times I saw His goodness in my life. His goodness to me hasn’t ended either. He continues to be good to me and He will continue to be good. I know I can trust that.
When thoughts arise that try to question that, I can take them captive and remind myself of God’s goodness towards me.