A few weeks ago I stood in the chapel at camp with the camp staff as we sang the words of a popular worship song:
and take away.
and I started thinking about how we often think of God’s giving as “good” and his taking away as “bad.”
I recently read the part in 1 Samuel where Samuel gives Eli a pretty brutal word from God, and Eli’s response is mind-blowing. Eli responds, “He is the Lord; let him do what is good in his eyes.”
Susannah and I have a problem with people who use Scriptures out of context and to meet their own needs. I recently sent her this meme:
Also happens with Romans 8:28. I think the problem is that we want something to get us through the bad, so we cling to wherever the Bible says “God is going to make something good come of this bad thing.”
I have this new theory.
My new theory is this:
God doesn’t do bad things.
Crazy idea, I know. but Romans 8:28… God works all things together for good? Yeah, because God’s works ARE good. Do we agree with “good”? Probably not. PEOPLE do “bad” things, and then God is CONSTANTLY redeeming those things. He’s always saying “sorry that your brother over there is a jerk; I can use this if you let me.”
Everything God does is good.
Every redemptive, destructive, just and merciful act of God is good because God is good.
The problem isn’t in if God is or isn’t doing something – if he is giving or taking away – the problem is that we think we know what “good” means, and then we get all grumbly if God doesn’t do that thing.
God’s done this great thing of rebuilding my broken pieces into an even more whole person than I was before I was shattered, and in that I’ve felt this weird surge of people championing for me. I’ve had people notice me or be more quick to say “you are absolutely awesome” or “I CANNOT WAIT FOR YOU TO MEET SOMEONE AS PASSIONATE ABOUT LIFE AS YOU!!!” (like my friend Sarah Jane declared when we were driving back from our hike) and for the first time in my whole entire I life I have this weird certainty that regardless of what it might look like, God’s doing a good thing.
A few of my friends have lamented recently that they might not ever be married, and they’re sad. and I kind of insensitively declared “WHO CARES!? GOD WILL STILL USE YOU IF YOU LET HIM!!!” because I’m realizing that God’s good – even the confusing good – is so much more valuable and precious than my good.
So yes. We know that in all things, God works for the good of those who love him. Because that’s what a good God does. If we are wise, we’d learn to respond like Eli (who said this after hearing that his two sons would die on the same day because of their disobedience, and that Eli’s family line would be removed from the priests) when he said “He is the Lord; let him do what is good in His eyes.”
because that’s what a good God does.
A good God does what is good in his eyes.