Our Good God: With Us, For Us
This week we welcomed our third granddaughter, Elizabeth “Lizzy” Grace into the world and I can’t stop thinking of God’s goodness to our family.
Peter and I are praising God for another precious granddaughter, and that both mother and baby are doing well.
I have to admit that I’m sometimes surprised by God’s goodness as though I expect Him to be stingy.
I’m not alone.
I remember the first time I told a Christian friend who was struggling that God not only loved her, but He liked her and was for her, she was visibly moved.
At Christmastime, the songs and carols remind us of the peace and goodwill of Christ toward us, but honestly, in such a sin-stained world, understanding true goodness is hard. We’re so used to dealing with fallen humanity, that we underestimate and taint God’s goodness towards us. We doubt it’s for us.
Though we wouldn’t say it out loud, we reason that if “good people” have a “bad side” then God must be the same way.
But God is not like us.
I wanted to share two quotes with you today about God’s goodness and kindness because we all need to be reminded.
This little excerpt from Mrs. C.H. Spurgeon (a great little read, ministry wives! Thanks, Lauren, for recommending it!) encouraged me this week. The book is a biography of the life of Susana Spurgeon, wife of famous preacher Charles Spurgeon, and she speaks of God’s care and goodness in her life. The quote is a little long, but worth reading.
For context if you haven’t read the biography, Susana is in a time of sad and prolonged illness that left her bedridden while her husband traveled to preach. He writes to ask if there was anything she would like him to bring her. She was down, and half kidding, she answered “I should like an opal ring and a piping bullfinch!” They both knew there was no money for either and Charles answers, “Ah, you know I cannot get those for you!” They laugh and forget the conversation entirely.
When Moses asked God to show him his glory in Exodus 33:18, God replied, “I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name ‘The Lord God.”(ESV)
“The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.” Exodus 34:6-7
God uses these words to describe His goodness:
- slow to anger,
- abounding in steadfast love,
- forgiving iniquity.
These are all the ways He deals with us, so we shouldn’t be surprised with His gentle, loving, generous heart towards us.
In Gentle and Lowly: The Heart of Christ for Sinners, author Dane Ortlund explains a interesting truth about God’s heart.
“Come unto me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.” Matthew 11:28-30.
“In the one place in the Bible where the Son of God pulls back the veil and lets us peer way down into the core of who he is, we are not told that he is “austere and demanding in heart.” We are not told that he is “exalted and dignified in heart.” We are not even told that he is “joyful and generous in heart.” Letting Jesus set the terms, his surprising claim is that he is “gentle and lowly in heart.”
“I am gentle…” Meek. Humble. Gentle. Jesus is not trigger-happy. Not harsh, reactionary, easily exasperated. He is the most understanding person in the universe. The posture most natural to him is not a pointed finger but open arms.”
I’m so thankful during this Christmas season, not just for new grand babies, but for another Baby who condescended to come to Earth to enter into our story for a relationship with us, to be our with us, for us good God.
Can’t help but praise Him today for His goodness!
PS: As women who love God, we are called to reflect His character and image. As we see His goodness revealed in the mirror of scripture, may we measure our idea of what a “good christian” looks like by prayerfully asking how well we are imaging His character to a lost and dying world, and to the people around us we are required to love.
- How merciful am I?
- How gracious am I?
- Am I slow to anger?
- Am I characterized by steadfast love?
- Am I faithful to my commitments and friends?
- Am I a good forgiver?
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