Life's Complexity & God's Goodness
Last week was a very tumultuous one to say the least. From losing a high school friend to dealing with conflict in a relationship to disappointment about a performance on a test. Like me, we've all had a fair share of dealing with life's struggles, which sometimes leaves us wondering, "why me?"or "why do bad stuff happen to good people?", questions we'll probably never know the full answers to till we get to ask God face to face. However, I remember last week in the midst of everything happening, God reminded me about the story of Job (I've linked an interesting summary of the story for your reference), a righteous man who loved and honored God. In fact, God personally described him as "blameless- a man of complete integrity" (Job 1:8). Job was a man of such high-standing before God, the devil had to take permission from God to test him because the devil believed the reason why Job was faithful to God was because of his blessings; Job was a very wealthy man blessed with a beautiful family so he had a lot going for him. But when the devil tested him, he basically lost all he had, from his children to his riches, yet he remained faithful to God. Even his wife couldn't understand such loyalty, she once asked him, “Are you still trying to maintain your integrity? Curse God and die” but Job never did! (Job 2:9). Amazing! Yet this story still leaves me with many questions, why did God let him go through so much in the first place? Yes, God restored all he lost but could Job's life have ever been the same? And the most pressing one, how did Job remain steadfast through all of this?? So many questions!
But after reading through the book of Job recently, the major lesson I learned is we won't always understand everything that happens to us in life or "why bad stuff happen to good people" but one thing is sure: God is in control and He is good. Not quite the answer we were expecting but that's the mystery of life and our faith (1 Corinthians 13:9-12). In the midst of the uncertainty and complexity of life, God is the ONLY constant. Circumstances change and people change but God doesn't. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). So, we must consistently remind ourselves of His goodness. The reason why Job remained steadfast through his difficult times was because he knew his circumstances didn't define who God is, and we can always remind ourselves of His goodness through His word.
Psalm 23:1-5 "The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows".
Psalms 23:6 "Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the LORD forever".
Psalms 34:8 "Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him".
Psalms 27:13 "I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living".
Another thing we must never forget is that God loves us, so we are never alone through the difficult times. His love is so overwhelming and boundless that nothing can ever change it!
Romans 8:35-39 "Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? (As the Scriptures say, "For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep) No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us".
Ephesians 3:17-19 "So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God".
So, what should our response be in times of difficulty? Praise! When we praise, we remind ourselves of who God is to us and our problems seemingly become smaller as we make God bigger.
Psalms 34:1-4 "I will extol the Lord at all times; his praise will always be on my lips. I will glory in the Lord; let the afflicted hear and rejoice. Glorify the Lord with me; let us exalt his name together. I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears".
Psalm 63:3-4 "Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands".
Habakkuk 3:17-19 "Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights".
Finally, we must never forget how God has brought us through past obstacles. Too often we forget! But when we remember that the same God who did it before can do it again, we are encouraged. So, keep a testimony journal.
I pray that through life's complexities, we will never forget that God is good and that we'll remain faithful like Job. I'll like to leave you today with my favorite worship songs about the goodness of God :) Enjoy!
1. Promises (Maverick City) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q5m09rqOoxE
2. Goodness of God (Bethel) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n0FBb6hnwTo