I’ve been grappling with God’s goodness lately.
Not the “let me massage your feet” variety—dinner with friends, an encouraging email, an answered prayer—blessings I immediately recognize and embrace. No. I’ve been wrestling with the “looks like I’ll have to amputate” goodness. The kind that pierces my spirit—a friend’s betrayal, the loss of a job, an emphatic “no” to a prayer request. Wounds that disable me and send me scurrying for shelter.
God’s definition of goodness is so different than mine that I often don’t recognize it. In my dictionary, goodness generates smiles, laughter, and relaxation. Goodness prompts me to say, “Wow! I’m so glad to be God’s child. He’s so good to me.”
But God’s goodness is much more complex than that. His goodness is always focused on eternity—preparing me for heaven, purifying me so that I look just like Jesus when I walk through heaven’s gates. That’s the reason His goodness looks like badness sometimes.
Think of a surgeon’s relationship to a patient. If the patient’s foot is so infected that it cannot be healed, the surgeon’s brand of goodness requires amputation—pain, loss, excruciating therapy, and a new normal.
That’s what God’s goodness mandates for us sometimes—amputating infectious passions, habits, and philosophies that threaten our spiritual wellbeing. Allowing God to cut out my prideful actions, my judgmental attitudes, and my self-centered habits is essential. But extremely painful.
Paul told the Romans that despising God’s goodness was indicative of a hardened, rebellious heart. To despise something is to scorn it, to trample it underfoot, to consider it worthless. How do I respond when God says to me, “Looks like we’ll have to amputate”? Do I trust Him, confident that He’s doing what’s best for me? Or do I scorn His diagnosis and refuse to let Him operate?
One of the clearest indications that my relationship with God is healthy is my response to His goodness. Both varieties. Foot massages and amputations.
What does God’s goodness look like in your life? How are you responding to it?
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