Tuesday, July 9, 2019

What If God Was Not Good?

Some friends of mine in the Catholic Charismatic Renewal Movement like to greet each other by saying, “God is good.” Then the other person replies, “All the time.” Often, they will repeat it, but in reverse: “And all the time…” then the reply, “God is good.”
The Bible tells us over and over that God is indeed good. “God is love.” “For God so loved the world…” “Love one another, as I have loved you.” “The Lord is kind and merciful.”

When we consider all the blessings and joys we experience in life, it is undeniable that God is good. But what if God was not so good? There is nothing in the rule book that says God has to be compassionate, forgiving, and merciful. What if He had the godlike attributes of the divine Creator—all-powerful and all-knowing—but had a really bad attitude? That would not be so enjoyable, would it?

What if God intentionally put obstacles in front of us during our journey through life, and then when we stumbled and experienced pain, He burst out laughing at us, like a nasty schoolyard bully? Boy, that would be miserable, wouldn’t it? That would mean God is similar to those characters in Greek mythology who were thought to have supernatural powers, but had really flawed personalities. Some of those Greek gods got drunk; some of them lied and cheated; and some tormented human beings here on earth, just for sport. That would be horrible if the real God was a self-centered creep like that.

Thankfully, the truth is, God is all-loving and He created us out of His abundant love. He wants us to be in a loving relationship with Him. He wants us to experience all the joys of life.

Unfortunately, there are many people nowadays who think God is not good. And the reason they think this is somewhat understandable: we often experience pain and heartache in this world. It is reasonable to wonder if God is so good, then why did He let me lose my job? Why did He let my son get addicted to drugs? Why did my spouse divorce me? Why did my best friend get cancer? Why does my back hurt so much that I can’t sleep at night? Why do I feel so sad sometimes I just want to crawl into a hole and die?

These heartfelt and painful questions are endless. Many, many people are suffering so much. If God is so good, why doesn’t He take away all our pain? It’s that age-old question that countless theologians have asked through the centuries: Why do bad things happen to good people, and why doesn’t God stop it from happening?
Well, the fact of the matter is, we live in a fallen world. Sin has corrupted our world so much that there is no shortage of pain and suffering. God allows it to happen—for a time—but He doesn’t cause it to happen.

An important thing to understand is that whenever something painful happens to us, God does not laugh like a schoolyard bully. Instead, He weeps with empathy and compassion for us. That is a big difference. He truly does love us, and He is good.

It’s also important to remember that this world is not our home, and we are only here temporarily. If this world and this life were all that existed, then our pain and suffering would be very tragic, and you could make the case that God is not very good.
However, our entire time on earth is just a brief dress rehearsal before the real show, which is eternal life and joy in God’s heavenly kingdom. In Heaven, there is no suffering, no pain, and no heartache. Here on earth, we are supposed to learn who God is and get a glimpse of what it means to be in loving relationships. When we get to Heaven, we finally will love perfectly and bask in God’s joy perfectly.

While we are here, though, it’s a struggle, interspersed with fleeting moments of joy and happiness. But don’t ever for a minute think that God is not good. He loves us so much.

God is good…all the time. And all the time…God is good.

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