Faith & Life: Even amid tough times, God is always good

Is God good all the time? Well, according to the Bible he is. His purposes have a kingdom focus for his will to be done on this Earth. And he says he works all things for the good of those who love him (Romans 8:28). And that he brings justice (Luke 18:8).

But what of human suffering, sickness, injustice and death? Abuse, mental illness, poverty, slander or suicide? How do we say he is good in all of this?

I have experienced, or been affected by, some of the above, either personally or by the effects of these problems on a loved one. The pain of having children suffer, of abuse, slander and injustice has rarely felt like God's goodness. I have felt peace at times, but not at all times. And I have questioned God many times about his “fairness,” his “justice,” in letting those who do not serve him, or who are disobedient, prosper while others were on their knees praying and trying to obey him in all things, living moral lives. This is when I have asked, “Is God good all the time?”

It has been in these circumstances when I have pondered if he really is good at all. Of course, God knows this. I have had times I wanted to give up, even rebel. I had reached that point four years ago. I've found that since that time I was to find monthly or weekly trials that randomly occurred. One of them alone would have brought someone to their knees — not only in prayer, but perhaps with a gun.

But I made it. So after the fact, I have surmised that God is good. I am still alive for a reason. I still have moments of laughter, brief times of health, a few hours of reprieve for a child who suffers — where I feel God is good. I have survived. I am helping others, through my suffering, with theirs.

I could say, “Why me?” But instead I choose to think that God created me for this purpose — to help others. And I can write here today: God is good.

I have chosen to take notice of his deliverance in the small things. I have had stretches of peace that surpass circumstances and my understanding. I have developed the ability to share my story to help others.

So where are you in your journey? Perhaps you just met the love of your life. God is pretty good, right? You just got a new home, or a huge promotion. Yes, God is good. But what if your child died? Is he still good? What if you were assaulted and almost killed, and you walk around in chronic pain and fear? Is he good then? Does God's goodness depend on our circumstances? Or is there a higher plan or calling that will not fully be revealed until we are in heaven?

I believe we will see some goodness and understand some of our trials on this Earth. I have. Others, I believe, will be revealed the other side of this life. We will see how our circumstances and suffering touched a ribbon of people that perhaps even changed history on such a large scale that we never would have realized it. But for now, I have come to the conclusion not by sight, but by faith, that yes, God is good. And even when I do not feel it, God is good all the time.

The Rev. KIMBERLIE ZAKARIAN is a licensed psychotherapist. She can be reached at Kimberlie Zakarian Therapy, 2233 Honolulu Ave., Ste 310, Montrose, CA 91020 or kimberlie@kimberliezakariantherapy.com.

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