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 8:28â€¦Â 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 whatÂ 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.Â
A good God does what is good in his eyes.Â
THAT MEME!!!!! I just laughed a lot and FOR REALZ, to anyone who quotes that verse: what’s the rest of the chapter about, hmmm???? But your point is so good, that we rattle of happy little verses about how everything will work out………………but sometimes things “working out” could mean you have to build an embarrassingly large boat and get made fun of. Or, if you’re Peter, you get killed! Whoopee! But God is still G O O D
preach!!! love that meme! hehehe
if we replace “good” with “sanctification” in Romans 8:28 it changes our entire perception of that verse! God makes all things work together for our sanctification – “good” and “bad”!
“regardless of what it might look like, Godâ€™s doing a good thing” amen, amen, amen…it changes our perspective of what ever we or others are going through when we see it through His eye. As missionaries we tend to think God is good when we go over seas and serve Him. But when the tables are reversed and we have to come home for tons of good reason or even bad ones we tend to think He is not in that. Especially when we think we have not finished well, in our eyes anyway. This principal you wrote about makes life no matter what is going on worth living, because life is in Christ not the good or bad. Great post.
I’ve got a quote sort of running in fragments through my mind, and I can’t remember where I heard/read it but it goes sort of like this: “Remember that it is only to us that the work of God appears to be either good or bad . . .” It may have been Elisabeth Elliot, and her point was, like yours, that God is sovereign, and in the end His purposes will be fulfilled, and we will see that “He meant it for good.”
To be honest? This is the hardest truth of all for me.
I’ve been catching up on your blog posts…and this is seriously the best post, like, ever!! It drives me crazy when people take scripture out of context too! That meme is so perfect, haha!