It’s All Good…REALLY

 

If you’ve ever had a “bad day”, a bad week, or a bad anything, you are not alone. There are all kinds of different things that happen, situations we find ourselves in, consequences we have to live through, etc. Often we are in the majority when we refer to certain things as “bad”.

However, the truth is that there is never really any bad in the life of a follower of Christ. If God, in all of his sovereignty is good all the time, then what he is having you go through is also good. How can God, who is good all the time, bring something to pass in your life that isn’t also good? Of course we would never say, “What a great day! My good friend just passed away.” However, as a follower of Christ, we also don’t want to miss the ultimate good that God is doing in our lives no matter the situation.

If Romans 8:28 is true (like we believe the rest of the Bible is), then there is no such thing as “bad”. Instead, it boils down to our own personal choice of perspective. How do we look at and phrase our thoughts about particular aspects of life? Are we looking at everything through the lens of God’s good and holy sovereignty, or our own personal lens whereby we want everything to work out according to our plan. It seems rather simple, and it is. Simple to understand, not quite as easy to employ in our daily lives. Admittedly, it’s easier to see backwards. I can see back and understand the good God was working in my life when I had that flat tire on the freeway last week. But, in the moment, it’s not quite as easy when I’m late for work and I have dirt all over my hands and face.

all things good7What this struggle of perspective reveals about us is a deep heart attitude that struggles to fully believe and trust God. If we are totally honest, we’d have to say that we’re not sure God truly is good all the time. As a matter of fact, we might often think that God has gotten some things terribly wrong. When that happens, and we actually think those kind of thoughts, we are trusting in ourselves and what we think is best, and discarding God and his plans.

Now, this isn’t to say that life never includes things that are extremely difficult and very challenging. Any person who has lost a loved one when you weren’t ready, experienced mistreatment at the hands of another, or any number of challenging situations can attest to the fact that life can be downright tough. Just watch the news, (if you’re brave) and you’ll see multiple stories of very trying and difficult times.

However, acknowledging there are tough situations is not the same as blaming a holy, righteous God and questioning why his plan for your life includes this “bad” that you are having to deal with. Jesus told us in John 16:33 that we will have trouble while we live in this world. He didn’t hide this fact from us, but rather he told us to hold onto the hope we have in him because he has already overcome the world.

Being a committed follower of Jesus doesn’t mean we have to act like there aren’t difficulties in life, like everything is coming up roses every direction we turn. But it does mean that we have to accept whatever we are given to endure and do so with the hope we ultimately have in Jesus Christ.

With this kind of Jesus-centered perspective, we can all learn to view life in a way that removes any “bad” and replaces it with a strong, enduring trust in an ever-faithful God who is good all the time. Maybe a word from Job would be an encouraging reminder. As he was going through what many in our world would call a very bad time, here is what Job said in Job 1:21, “The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”

Whatever you find yourself going through in the days to come, remember that God has placed it in your life for your ultimate good, and going through it is part of your growing in Christlikeness.

Back 2 School Journey

 

In our area, most every school has officially started now that Labor Day has passed, and many are ready to fully usher in the search for fall. During this past Sunday’s sermon I tried to leave all those who began this new school year with some encouragement. I told them that the first five days and the first week were behind them. Furthermore, I informed them that they merely had another 172 days and 35 weeks to go. It was odd, but those tidbits of information did not seem to bring the encouragement I intended. Go figure.

However, the realization of just how much school year remained in front of them helped me consider something valuable. I had seen and read many Back-2-School commercials, sales flyers, news stories, blogs, etc. Honestly, there were some really good and thought provoking things for us to contemplate as we embarked upon another school year. But that’s just it. It is a school “year”, and most of the Back-2-School emphasis lasts for just a few weeks. Then, we’re off to the races at break-neck speed, and it’s one day after another with a few small breaks here and there.

My aim with this short blog is to encourage you to do whatever it takes to remind yourself that the school year is much more of a journey than it is a quick trip. Take the same list of people and positions related to school and have at least a weekly prayer time for them specifically. If you haven’t seen a list, or can’t find the one you had, use the one below.

  • Students
  • Teachers
  • Parents
  • Administrators (superintendents, principals, counselors, etc.)
  • Volunteers (in the classroom & outside, chaperones, PTA, room moms, etc.)
  • Support Staff (maintenance, cafeteria, custodial, transportation, office staff, etc.)
  • Extracurricular Activities

The school year is long, and while most begin with a certain level of excitement of the new, pressures, the weight of performance, and the desire to enjoy the relaxations of summer increase over time. Let’s be diligent to keep these folks in our prayers and on our minds during this school year.

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