BUV Reorientation Devotion
Part 2: The Goodness of God
by Kimberly Smith
When I was 11 years old, my maternal Grandparents were both tragically killed in a car accident.
My family were on holidays at the time, and I remember the police and my parents standing outside our caravan while they were told the news. Looking back now, I can’t imagine the difficult task it would have been for my Mum and Dad to tell my three brothers and me such unbelievable and distressing news. All the while dealing with their own shock and grief.
In those early moments of coming to grips with the loss of our grandparents, my Mum and Dad led us to Romans 8:28
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
This isn’t good but God will use it for good. While we are sad and mad and disappointed and confused and all the not-good things, let us keep looking for how our good God might still be at work to bring His goodness to bear. To shine the warm light of His love, compassion, mercy and grace into even this, the darkest of times.
The death of my grandparents and the celebration of their lives at their funeral (that included rich testimony to their faith, love and witness) prompted a personal faith response to God for one of our relatives. It was such an immediate and tangible expression of the promise of Romans 8. See, God is working good things even out of the worst of tragedies!
Now, let it be known, I don’t think that was a fair trade! In no way was I considering that the death of both of my grandparents was somehow ‘worthwhile’ because of the positive stories and impact that we saw – both in that immediate time or across all the years since. But a senseless tragedy was made to be not ‘worthless’ as we saw the hand of God at work to make good things out of bad.
I am so grateful for this grounding in life and faith at a young age that has stood me in great stead for all the grief, loss, trauma and challenges that the rest of my life has contained. Because that’s the reality of how our lives go, isn’t it? The path of our life is a twisting one, often marked by unexpected changes and unforeseen experiences – by the orienting, disorienting and reorienting cycle that Andy Naylor spoke of here. Our Covid experience may currently seem like the pinnacle of this – but we were already experiencing the rollercoaster of life before … and it will continue on in new and interesting ways beyond this time.
In my own life, I resonate deeply with Joseph’s words in Genesis 50:20.
You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.
Time and again, the goodness of God has prevailed to see light and hope and healing and joy be borne out of the most depraved, challenging or traumatic of circumstances. The activity of an enemy seeking to kill, steal and destroy, the reality of a fallen and broken humanity and a world set for decay is that we experience the harm and the evil and the hurt all too frequently.
From scripture we’re reminded that … God is abounding in goodness (Exodus 34:6), every good and perfect gift is from above (James 1:17), your Father in heaven gives good things (Matt 7:11), the earth is full of the goodness of the Lord (Psalm 33:5), The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble (Nahum 1:7), give thanks to the Lord for He is good, His love endures forever (Psalm 107:1).
The reminder to consider the goodness of God isn’t a panacea designed to rush us through our grief and disappointment, rather to comfort us in it. To keep us from despair and hopelessness as we remember His good plans for our future and His power and grace to act on them. To hold us in our doubt and confusion as we are confident of Him being with us and for us.
I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Psalm 27:13
This isn’t good. But God will use it for good. And God is still and always good.
Questions for reflection :
- As you reflect on the challenges of the season we are currently in, where have you seen the goodness of God demonstrated?
- What practices do (or could) you have in place to draw your focus to God’s goodness in times of difficulty?
BUV Generations and Emerging Leaders Pastor