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Is Everything God Does Good?

I was struck in church this past weekend by a line from one of the songs expressing essentially that everything God does is right and good. A nice little line in the middle of a fun little song describing how far beyond human standards and experience God’s goodness and power go. A line which after thinking about it for a little while though actually seems more like the central question of faith than a nice sentiment.

Is everything God does good?

Clearly not everything that happens in the world is good. And clearly not everything that happens is God’s doing, unless you want to get into the omnipotence/free will debate which I do not. But in a life of faith that tries sincerely to do what God says in order to connect with him and have a meaningful life, there are inevitably twists of circumstance in which what began as something God seemed to have been doing or instructing becomes something disappointing, or frustrating, or even devastating. A prayer is not answered, a risk taken with the best of wisdom falls flat, or events within human control, or beyond it, conspire to squelch joy.

So there is still the question of causality in all these instances. Who made it happen? I don’t know. But I do know there have been times when, to the best of my understanding I felt God had directly instructed me or led me to a point where I made the best decision I knew to make, and I walked right into utter failure. In times like that it’s easy to blame myself. I made the wrong decision, I didn’t fully plan or think through things beforehand, or circumstances happened that were beyond my control.

But if I believe in a good God, and I believe that he’s only good, and doesn’t pull switcheroos or act in a mostly good manner and occasionally do things that are only for his amusement – that he doesn’t enjoy suffering or take pleasure in humanity’s grief in any way whatsoever, then I have to also believe that everything he does is good. Even when it feels like the opposite of good to me.

I could play the God-Is-All-Knowing card here or the somewhat condescending or authoritarian-parent sounding You’ll-Thank-Me-For-This-Later line, but I don’t think God plays those games either.

Is God not entirely good then? Or should I somehow convince myself that bad circumstances are in fact good for me? Or is God actually still good despite his not behaving as I expect him to or have been taught to believe he will? I don’t have any answers here, just wondering out loud. In the end though it seems the only hope I could possibly have in life hinges on the belief that God is good in everything he does, and while in the grand scheme of things I don’t really merit an explanation for the things I don’t understand I have to think that he is still there, and still worth pursuing.

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