Difficult years filled with disappointment can harden our hearts and lead us to feeling cynical. Trial after trial can leave even the most dedicated of Believers feeling hopeless. I don’t know about you, but 2016, 2017, and most of 2018 was a whirlwind of trials. Somehow I ended up in the boxing ring with the enemy. He’d knock me down. I’d get back up. Repeat. Though my heart held tightly to the truth of the Word of God, tears often drenched my confession of “I trust You, God.”
Maybe you’ve experienced this as well. Many theologians, much wiser than I, would call this the “Job season”. Others would describe it as “Murphy’s Law” when anything that can go wrong will go wrong. These are the moments, the months, the years when our faith is tested. Do we truly believe that there is a God? Are we able to confess with absolute assurance that if there is a God that He is good? And if He exists and is good, does He really love us? Regardless of the specifics of the trial, it is my belief that at the root of every tribulation is these three questions. The enemy comes only to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10). The enemy doesn’t care about your personal life. His sole aim is to destroy your relationship with God, the very relationship that Jesus came to redeem.
As we launch into a new year, let’s root ourselves in the knowledge that God exists, that He is good, and His love for us never fails. How do we know that God exists? Look outside. What do you see? Grass? Trees? Flowers? People? “From the beginning, creation in its magnificence enlightens us to His nature. Creation itself makes His undying power and divine identity clear, even though they are invisible” (Romans 1:20 Voice). Look at the detail in nature. Ponder how intricate our bodies are and how everything in them works together for our good to enable us to function. We are far too intelligent to have been created from a big boom or evolved from an ape. We exist because God exists. The apostle Paul put it this way, “for ‘In him we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are indeed his offspring’” (Acts 17:28 ESV).
Is God good? According to Merriam-Webster, the first definition of “good” is “of a favorable character or tendency”. “Good and upright is the LORD; therefore he instructs sinners in the way” (Psalm 25:8 ESV). “Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him” (Psalm 34:8)! “I alone am the Good Shepherd, and I know those whose hearts are mine, for they recognize me and know me” (John 10:14 TPT). The word “good” is used 672 times in a number of English translations of the Bible. Not every use of the word is specifically describing God; nevertheless, if God wasn’t good He wouldn’t use the word so many times in His own book!
Does God love you? Does God love me? Yeeeeeeeeeeessssss! God is love. He describes His character in what we call the “Love chapter” in 1 Corinthians 13: “Love is patient; love is kind. Love isn’t envious, doesn’t boast, brag, or strut about. There’s no arrogance in love; it’s never rude, crude, or indecent—it’s not self-absorbed. Love isn’t easily upset. Love doesn’t tally wrongs or celebrate injustice; but truth--yes, truth--is love’s delight! Love puts up with anything and everything that comes along; it trusts, hopes, and endures no matter what. Love will never become obsolete” (vs 4 – 8 Voice). Everything that God does is because of His great and never-ending love for us.
As the new year begins, let’s remember this eternal truth: God does not CAUSE suffering. Pain and suffering are a result of sin in the world. Bad things happen to good people because of sin in the world. Sometimes we make bad choices, but not everything that happens to us is our fault. It’s not God’s fault either. The bad things that come into our lives are because we are in a war with sin and Satan. He is our enemy and his sole purpose is to destroy us. BUT GOD!!!! God loves us, and He empowers us to overcome all the works of the enemy! God walks with us and gives us strategies to push through every trial and tribulation. The blood of Jesus Christ will never lose its power! It is still enough to pay the debt for sin and close the mouth of the accuser.
God is real. God is good. God loves you. God loves me. God does not cause suffering because He is good; therefore, God can be trusted! Choose this year to trust God! Trust Him in the laughter. Trust Him in the tears. Trust Him when it feels like everything is being torn down, and trust Him when things are being rebuilt. Trust Him in the sowing and in the reaping. “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven” (Ecclesiastes 3:1 ESV). The year is bound to have ups and downs, so no matter what comes our way, let’s choose to believe: “God is real. God is good. God loves you. God loves me.”