Goodness gracious and for goodness’ sake! This sure is good news!
Surely one of the most overlooked fruits of the spirit is–you guessed it–goodness. Perhaps that’s because, surrounded by such brokenness, we often have a hard time seeing, and moreover, feeling the constancy of God’s own goodness. Don’t worry, lightning won’t strike me for saying that; God is too good for that. And too compassionate. He well knows that when we’re not seeing the goodness in His master plan it is because we have allowed our fears to cloud our perspective and have turned our attention to the fallen world around us instead. In effect, we have forgotten a vital truth about our homeland.
Make no mistake, Earth is not our home. The Good Book affirms that we are ambassadors here, that we are foreigners whose citizenship is elsewhere, and that, startlingly, the ruler of this unbelieving world is none other than Satan himself. No wonder when we look around and don’t see much goodness–when pain and suffering and man hurting man dominate the headlines–this place can be so frightening. But that’s all the more reason to remember that the world is the current province of Satan only because this is what God allows. Yes, our good God is working His master plan and it will prevail. And when we see the world in this way–as being under God’s care and dominion–we realize at once we no longer need be afraid of the world or our place in it.
There is an expression that says, “The way out is through.” It refers to persevering and meeting our troubles head-on. That may not be our first instinct, but it does make sense. Most of us have learned by now that in this fallen world there is no end run we can do. Our troubles tend to follow us wherever we go. But as God’s children, deep down we know the way out is through because God is working His plan of love; and it is His innate character to see us through all the way, to guide and protect us, and to whisper assurance and instruction from His heart to ours until we are led straight into His waiting arms. A Good Shepherd does those things.
So yes, when we look around we do see much bad that surrounds us (our own-less-than-stellar contributions to the problem are a subject for another day). Nevertheless, we’re not called to focus on the bad, or to curse the darkness. We’re called to share God’s light and to abide in the assurance that the loving God who works all things together for good will ultimately return to set this world straight.
When will that be? Goodness knows–literally.
I hope this encourages you to trust in the goodness of God today.
(For further contemplation: Gal 5:22; 1 Pet 2:11; Phil 3:20; John 12:31; 2 Cor 4:4; 2 Cor 5:20; Eph 2:2; John 16:33; Psalm 23; Heb 11:1; Rom 8:28; Mat 24:27;)
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