Good. Not great; not amazing. Just good.
We use the word ‘good’ to describe so many different things- food, how we’re feeling, TV programmes, schools…
It’s a word we slip into our casual conversations every day and so when the Bible describes God as good, it’s easy to forget all that this really means.
God is good. Extremely good. Foundationally, inherently, awe-inspiringly good. His very core is pure and wholesome and nothing can be added to his nature to make him better. All good things come from him and he loves to extend his goodness towards us.
This is something that has been on my mind quite a lot recently and I am continuously being reminded of God’s goodness in my own life and in the lives of those around me. I remember dwelling on this one evening a few months ago and then the next day at church, we happened to sing ‘You are Good’ by Bethel. A church member went up to share his thoughts on the song and he began to explore the concept of God being a good God and what this really means. He talked about how powerful and mighty God is and how, given his ability to smite us down at any moment, it is important and assuring to know that he is a good God.
Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to visit Russia. This was quite momentous for me as having studied Russian all the way through high school, I had been keen to visit the country for a long time. I truly enjoyed studying the language at school and was very disappointed when I had to miss the school trip to Russia because of the huge price. I didn’t think I would have a chance to go in the future and so visiting St Petersburg felt very surreal.
Because my sister was studying in Russia during my visit, I was able to spend an evening in the home of her hostess- a typical Russian Grandma named Irina. When I arrived, the table was beautifully laid with Russian pancakes, jam, Smetana, hot tea and other traditional foods. This was a real highlight for me as whilst to an onlooker the evening may have seemed insignificant, it was more than my student-self could have ever imagined. To provide some context, during my Russian lessons at school, we would imitate Russian culture by arranging Russian-style ‘tea parties’. It was all very improvised, and we would have to make do with pancakes my teacher would buy from the nearby supermarket and hot drinks purchased from the school canteen. As makeshift as it was, I always thoroughly enjoyed this element of our lessons for the small glimpse into Russian culture that it provided. I didn’t think I would experience the real thing and so spending the evening at Irina’s home was very special for me. It served as a reminder that God sees us, knows us and loves to lavish his goodness upon us. He is aware of the small details in our lives and is very good at bringing things full circle for our benefit.
This is of course not to say that God is only ‘good’ to the extent that he makes us happier and more content. He is good even when our prayers go unanswered and he is good when we are faced with difficult circumstances – whether at work, with our families or with our finances. It’s at times like these when we should make a special effort to dwell on our personal encounters of God’s goodness. Then we will be reminded of who he really is- a truly good God.
‘Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.’ Psalm 34:8