Oh taste and see that the Lord is Good! How blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him! Psalm 34:8
God is good, and all that he does is good. This is one of my favorite phrases. There are lots of places I could have gotten it, including directly from Psalms, but in my life this primarily comes from George Muller. Muller’s version is this: “The Lord is good, and doeth good.” He talks continually about the goodness of the Lord, and God’s faithfulness. In fact, this premise is at the heart of all that Muller did over the course of his life.
There are many things to admire about God. God is eternal, which means that he is beyond time, that he has no beginning and no end. God is omniscient, meaning that God knows everything, from the number of atoms in every star in the universe at any given moment to what is on your heart and mind right now. God is omnipotent, which means that he can create and destroy whole universes with out diminishing his energy in the least, and certainly has the power to deal with the issues in our daily lives. God is holy and completely righteous. He is merciful and full of grace. God loves you so much that he would go to any length necessary to give you the chance to be in his family, and so much that he would let you go if you choose to reject him. God is just, and always judges rightly and always punishes wrong, but he is also patient and gives us ample time to turn to him and repent. When we do repent, he still deals with the wrong, but he takes the penalty on himself so that he can forgive us. God is always faithful, always consistent, always dependable, always trustworthy. God is amazing!
But all of that, to me, is wrapped up in the idea that God is good. When we understand this idea, that God is good and all that he does is good, it frames how we see the world, and our lives, and all of the events that transpire. It informs our choices, and how we live our lives. The fact that God is good and all that he does is good impacts everything.
Muller trusted God because he knew that God is good. This shows up again and again in his Narratives. He wanted his readers to see God’s hand as well. This was largely the point of Muller’s ministry work, to demonstrate God’s active hand in our lives.
Dear Reader! does your heart admire the hand of God in these instances? Does your heart praise the Lord for His goodness to us? Does it, or does it not? If not, then I beseech you to lay aside this account of His dealings with us, and fall on your knees, and ask God to have mercy upon you, and to soften your heart, that you may be sensible of His goodness to us. Surely if you can read this account of His goodness, and it makes no impression upon you, it is a sign that your heart is not in a right state before God. I do not expect that all the readers will, as much as I do, by the grace of God, see the hand of God in all these matters, though I could wish that they did so, even a thousand times more than I do; but yet all should adore God for His great goodness to us, and should remember that what He does for us, in answering our poor sin-mixed petitions, for the sake of His dear Son, He is willing to do for them also.—Particularly notice, that the help never comes too late. (Narratives, Part 4 from March 4, 1845)
Its not all that hard to see God’s hand in the good things, in the events that are clearly blessings. In fact, most of the times that Muller talks about God’s goodness it is in reference to the times that God once again showed himself to be faithful by providing for Muller’s needs and the needs of the orphans and other work. The times when God blesses are the easiest to identify his part in our lives today as well. When we talk about how good God is, we almost always point to the obviously good things that he has done.
But the statement that “God is good, and all that he does is good” is not limited to the times when things are going wonderfully. The hard part about the statement isn’t that God is good, but in understanding that all that he does is good. Romans 8:28 tells us that “all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.” If we are going to believe that God is good, then we must believe that all that he brings about in our lives, all that he does, is good. If we are to believe that he is all powerful and all knowing, we must believe that all that happens in our lives are within his control. The result is that all that happens to us who belong to him is God’s doing, and all of it is good.
The only way around this is to believe one of the following:
- God is not good, or
- God is not powerful enough to guarantee good in our lives
If we believe that God is good and that he is powerful, then we must believe that all that happens in our lives is the hand of God and that it is good. When Muller’s wife Mary died, he spoke at her funeral on this topic:
‘The Lord is good, and doeth good,’ all will be according to His own blessed character. Nothing but that, which is good, like Himself, can proceed from Him. If he pleases to take my dearest wife, it will be good, like Himself. What I have to do, as His child, is to be satisfied with what my Father does, that I may glorify Him. After this my soul not only aimed, but this, my soul, by God’s grace, attained to. I was satisfied with God. (Narrative, part 3, page 575)
He had three points to his message at Mary’s funeral and that he related in his Narratives concerning that day: That God was good in giving Mary to him as a wife, that God was good in giving them so many years together, and that in the end God was good in taking her from him. It is this third part that is most relevant here:
III That the Lord is good and was doing good in the removal of the desire of my eyes.
Perhaps all Christians who have heard me, will have no difficulty in giving their hearty assent that “the Lord was good and doing good” in giving me such a wife; and they will also, probably, most readily admit that He was good, and doing good in leaving her to me so long; but I ask these dear Christian friends to go further with me, and to say from their hearts, “The Lord was good, and doing good” in the removal of that useful, lovely, excellent wife from her husband, and that at the very time when, humanly speaking, he needed her more than ever. While I am saying this, I feel the void in my heart. That lovely one is no more with me, to share my joys and sorrows. Every day I miss her more and more. Every day I see more and more how great her loss to the Orphans. Yet, without an effort, my inmost soul habitually joys in the joy of that loved departed one. Her happiness gives joy to me. My dear daughter and self would not have her back, were it possible to produce it by the turn of the hand. God himself has done it we are satisfied with Him (Narrative, part 3, page 588)
There is no way around this. If we are to follow God, if we are to trust him at all, we must trust him in the easy and hard, and even in the times when we cannot see any good. We must trust that God is in control, and that he is good. We must accept all that he gives us, and be satisfied with God.
This is a matter of faith, of belief, and it is a matter of choice. We do not always see the good in the events of our lives, and in the lives of those around us. Hard things come, things that seem dark and hopeless, loss and hurt that seem unhealable. But as a matter of choice we turn to God, and we say with conviction that we rest in his hands, and that he is good, and that all that he does is good.
If we are to follow God, we must accept his hand in all of our lives, and we must trust him with every step. We cannot say “God is good, but absent,” or “God is good sometimes,” or “God is good, but incapable.” We must as a matter of faith say and believe that “God is good, and all that he does is good, and by his grace I too will be satisfied in him.”