Romans 8:28, Galatians 5:22, Matthew 19:17, Matthew 7:11, Psalm 23:6, Luke 17
Heather Bellamy reflects on how good God is at all times.
When I was 19 I started having panic attacks. I would shake from head to toe, hyperventilate, my throat would contract so I couldn't swallow and I thought I was going to die.
When I was 20 I became a disciple. For eight months I followed Him at great personal cost. My life totally changed in all respects as He worked quickly in my life, but after eight months I was still having panic attacks.
One night I cried out to Him in desperation. "God I can't keep living like this." And He showed me a picture of a wall of fear. I knew He was telling me that for all my obedience, not one brick had been removed. However I knew that He was showing me that He'd used that fear in my life like a weight trainer would use weights in a gym.
To be obedient in all the ways I had for eight months I had had to push against huge fear and that extra weight that I'd pushed against had accelerated my growth in other areas of Christ-like character, like perseverance, commitment and the ability to sacrifice.
A couple of weeks later He delivered me of my fear and I've never had a panic attack since.
This was my first clear example of God's ability to use everything for good in my life, even the bad stuff that doesn't come from Him.
'And we know [with great confidence] that God [who is deeply concerned about us] causes all things to work together [as a plan] for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His plan and purpose.' Romans 8:28
In every circumstance, if we will love Him in it and seek His purpose and be obedient to that, then we enable Him to use everything for our good. If we go our own way, lean on our own understanding, react in our flesh and turn our back on God, then we disempower Him.
When bad things happen we often question God's goodness, but God is good all of the time. It's who He is. He can't not be good; it's one of the fruits of His Spirit:
'But the fruit of the Spirit [the result of His presence within us] is goodness.' Galatians 5:22
Jesus said, "There is only One who is [essentially] good." Matthew 19:17
Sometimes our circumstances will reflect His goodness; perhaps He's brought into your life your future spouse, or you got the job you were praying for, or the supernatural healing. Jesus said this would happen in Matthew 7:11, "How much more will your Father who is in heaven [perfect as He is] give what is good and advantageous to those who keep on asking Him."
However, even when things are difficult, God is still good. We always have the opportunity through relationship with Him, to bring His redemptive goodness into every circumstance. Even in the valley of the shadow of death it's possible for us to cry, 'Surely goodness and mercy and unfailing love shall follow me all the days of my life.' Psalm 23:6
Bad things happen because we have free will and don't always make the best decisions; we live in a fallen world that is suffering under sin and death; even when we make the right choices, other people's decisions can bring bad stuff into our lives that our Father didn't intend; we have an enemy who steals, kills and destroys and as the Bible says, we also battle because of the sins of our fathers.
But God is good all the time. Through every bad thing in my life, I've received more goodness from Him than the pain I've suffered. The pain is real, but His goodness is greater.
Today, if you're basking in the evidence of His goodness, make sure you love your heavenly Abba and like that one leper in Luke 17, remember to come back to Him to thank Him.
If your circumstances are difficult, remember, you have a Father who is good all the time. Reach out to Him, love Him in that place, seek Him for His will and purpose in your circumstance and live for that. His goodness will come into your darkness and illuminate it, it will comfort you and give you life.The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.
View all Life Files by Heather Bellamy