In the desert…

“Only one life, ’twill soon be past, only what’s done for Christ will last.”

Goodness.

Do you ever feel like you have absolutely no clue what you’re doing? Well, I feel like that pretty much every second of the day lately. Not only do I not know how to best serve my husband or my kids, I don’t even feel like I know what I’m doing when i’m warming up a cup of coffee at 11am for the 6th time that day. In the midst of caring for a wonderful husband, a 2.5 year old, a 15 month old, and prego brain, I’m at a loss most days lately. (Not to mention I feel like this baby is going to fall out of me…but that’s something totally in and of itself and probably not blog-able!) 🙂

Anyway, all this to say that I can tend to get overwhelmed to the point of wanting to question God about this whole “God is sovereign and God is good” thing. I think that we say a lot of these phrases without truly knowing what they mean. At least, I do. What I mean is that I can spit out that phrase and believe it in my head, but I don’t necessarily believe it in a functional-living-it-out type way. As I look back over the past almost year of living with my in-laws and now getting ready to have a 3rd child and STILL living with my in-laws for another year, I wonder if I truly would have believed the ‘God is good’ mantra without having gone through this challenging year. I don’t want to convey that things have been bad here, please don’t misunderstand. But anytime a family of 4, soon to be 5, moves in with 4 other people who have their own set ways and own ideas of how to raise kids and lifestyle, it’s going to be an adjustment of sorts. I do believe that God has been good to me in this by showing me sin in my heart that otherwise would not have come out in this same way i.e, self-righteousness, grumbling, selfishness etc. (insert anything starting with the word “self” and you get the picture). And I am also starting to believe that I don’t have goodness in me. Anywhere. Yes, I would agree with Romans 3:10-12 “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” But that doesn’t mean that I am not deceived by my sin and actually live like I believe that!

In light of this, Eric has encouraged me to read a chapter from a big old thick book by Stephen Charnock called “The Existence and Attributes of God” on the goodness of God. (Thanks Pete!) Go figure. It’s not an easy read, (17th century), but as I’ve worked myself through the first 10 pages of it, it’s been really helpful. Listen to this:

‘God is thus good, because his nature is infinitely perfect; he hath all things requisite to the completing of a most perfect and sovereign Being. All good meets in his essence, as all water meets in the ocean. Under this notion all the attributes of God, which are requisite to so illustrious a Being, are comprehended. All things that are, have a goodness of being in them, derived to them by the power of God, as they are creatures; so the devil is good, as he is a creature of God’s making: he hath a natural goodness, but not a moral goodness: when he fell from God, he retained his natural goodness as a creature; because he did not cease to be, he was not reduced to that nothing, from whence he was drawn; but he ceased to be morally good, being stripped of his righteousness by his apostasy; as a creature, he was God’s work; as a creature, he remains still God’s work; and, therefore, as a creature, remains still good, in regard of his created being. The more of being anything hath, the more of this sort of natural goodness it hath; and so the devil hath more of this natural goodness than men have; because he hath more marks of the excellency of God upon him, in regard of the greatness of his knowledge, and the extent of his power, the largeness of his capacity, and the acuteness of his understanding, which are natural perfections belonging to the nature of an angel, though he hath lost his moral perfections. God is sovereignly and infinitely good in this sort of goodness. He is unsearchably perfect (Job 11:7) ; nothing is wanting to his essence, that is necessary to the perfection of it; yet this is not that which the Scripture expresseth under the term of goodness, but a perfection of God’s nature as related to us, and which he poureth forth upon all his creatures, as goodness which flows from his natural perfection of the Deity.” (pg 217 The Existence and Attributes of God)

Crazy, right? How kind of God to not only choose me to be an adopted daughter, but to impute Christs righteousness to me when I don’t even have as much ‘natural’ goodness as the devil! And if God was merciful and gracious enough to send His Son to be crushed for a person such as I that has no goodness, then this really does ring true: “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, now will he not also with him graciously give us all things? (Rom 8:32) If God is good in his very essence of being God, he cannot NOT be good. It would reflect something that was not of him. God is faithful and good. Faithful to save. Faithful to convict. Faithful to comfort. Good in his sovereign plan for MY life. Faithful and good to show hope to a worn out, brain dead mom. Hope not of a house, or friendships, or even kids who obey perfectly; but a hope of one day coming face to face with a Good God.

I will give thanks to your name, O Lord, for it is good. (Ps 54:6)

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4 thoughts on “Goodness.

  1. fixyoureyes on said:

    Good stuff, Amanda.

    Good quote from Charnock’s “The Existence and Attributes of God”. I’ve heard Eric rave about this book too. I recently bought it, but I haven’t had a chance to read it.

    Here is another quote on the goodness of God by another Puritan, Thomas Manton:

    ““He is originally good, good of himself, which nothing else is; for all creatures are good only by participation and communication from God. He is essentially good; not only good, but goodness itself: the creature’s good is a super-added quality, in God it is his essence. He is infinitely good; the creatures good is but a drop, but in God there is an infinite ocean or gathering together of good. He is eternally and immutably good, for he cannot be less good than he is; as there can be no addition made to Him, so no subtraction from him.”

  2. I have a slight adjustment to this comment, “God is sovereign and God is good.”

    Don’t separate the two thoughts.
    Here is my montra when I’m feeling overwhelmed: “God is sovereign and it is good.”

    God’s sovereignty shouldn’t be separated from His goodness. They are linked together. So, sometimes, when His sovereignty doesn’t feel good, reminding myself that it is good helps to redirect my thoughts.

    We wouldn’t want to serve a God who doesn’t have control over everything. That would be bad. :o)

    Thanks for your humility in sharing this; it lets me know how I can further be praying for you.

  3. Last night, I was reading Trusting God (Jerry Bridges).

    Here are some things he shares:

    “God’s providence is His constant care for and His absolute rule over all His creation for His own glory and the good of His people.” (page 25)

    “If we are to trust God, we must learn to see that He is continuously at work in every aspect and every moment of our lives.” (page 28)

    “This, then, is divine providence: God sustaining and governing His universe, bringing all events to their appointed end.” (page 29)

    “While it is certainly true that God’s love for us does not protect us from pain and sorrow, it is also true that all occasions of pain and sorrow are under the absolute control of God. If God controls the circustances of the sparrow, how much more does He control the circumstances that affect us. God does not walk away and leave us to the mercy of uncontrolled random or chance events.” (page 30)

    ***********************

    Oh, and Bridges writes, “God is sovereign and He is good,” like you did. Whatever, haha. It still helps me remember the truth behind it better when I say to myself, “God is sovereign and it is good.”

  4. I have no idea how the smiley got in the post above. I’m sure I had a type-o.
    🙂
    (That one is intentional.)

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