In difficult situations, Christians commonly encourage each other that “God is good, all the time.” And that God works all things out for His glory and our good. But do you ever find yourself fearing that what brings Him glory might not bring you good? Do you ever seek to rule or manipulate situations to ensure your own good? In short, do you ever find yourself doubting God’s goodness?
I confess that there have been several times in my life when this very fear stopped me short during a time of prayer. I was on the verge of surrendering an area of sin or difficult situation or decision over to God’s control, but anxious thoughts whispered–what if His will doesn’t look anything like yours? Are you willing to bank on God’s goodness? Yet when I consider these fears in the face of the Savior, I find that yielding to His control isn’t dangerous. It’s glorious. It’s safety. It’s what I’m designed to do, so why am I so afraid?
Sometimes, I’m afraid God may punish me for my good and his glory. I have not been living righteously, and I fear God may work this situation to punish me for my faithlessness—it’s certainly what I deserve. Praise God because of Christ we do not get what we deserve. As God’s child, his work in my life is always redemptive—“He never punishes us in wrath because he has no wrath left. Every drop of his wrath was all poured out on his son” (Elyse Fitzpatrick). Because Christ bore the full weight of the Father’s wrath, we don’t have to—not now, not in eternity: “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Jesus Christ” (Romans 8:1) rather “He disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness” (Hebrews 12:10). I can safely yield to my loving Father.
Sometimes, I’m afraid God may cross-examine me for my good and his glory. If I surrender this matter to Christ will He test me to see if I mean it? For instance, if I yield my health, will He impose an illness to see if I will truly trust Him? First, I can be assured that God does not author temptation. Rather temptation stems from sinful desires that lead to death. In contrast our unchanging Father of lights is the author of “every good and every perfect gift” (James 1:17). Furthermore, our sovereign God will not allow others to tempt us beyond what we are able without also making a way of escape (1 Corinthians 10:13). Most amazingly, our Great High Priest wears our flesh and sympathizes with our weaknesses. He perfectly endured all manner of temptation, and He invites us to run to His throne of grace “that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:14-16). I can safely yield to my compassionate Advocate.
Sometimes, I’m afraid God may ask me to wait for my good and his glory. I don’t want to wait for God to act in this situation because then I don’t know how or when it will end. I want to take control to ensure my good because I sinfully believe I am more powerful than God to guarantee a result. But God promises good things to those who trust and wait. Our powerful God never grows weary or faint, and He promises to renew the strength of those who wait on Him (Isaiah 40:31). Our Lord of daily mercies and unflagging faithfulness values quiet expectation and trust, “The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul that seeks Him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord” (Lamentations 3:22-25). Waiting humbles us–our heart must acknowledge that God is actually God; that He is more able than I; that because He is both sovereign and good I can wait on Him. I can safely yield to my powerful Creator.
Sometimes, I’m afraid God may ask me to suffer for my good and His glory. What if God orchestrates a painful situation that may ultimately bring me good but hurts in the process? The Man of Sorrows beckons his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23). We must daily reject self and choose Christ. We should not be surprised when we experience suffering but actually rejoice to suffer for the One who was crushed on our behalf (1 Peter 4:13). We can also take comfort that suffering is temporary, “For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18). When we keep our hearts fixed on eternal, unseen things, we remember that this earth—everything in it and everyone apart from Him– is passing away, and we find renewed desire to live for the only One that matters. I can safely yield to my glorious Savior.
My fearful hesitations not only doubt his goodness but reject his rule. I can keep scratching out my own way, or I can choose walk in the Way. I can entrust my cares to a good Sovereign who already proved his sacrificial love on Calvary–a faithful God “who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:32). How can I doubt his goodness; how can I reject his rule; how can I but yield before such a good and gracious King? When I see Him as He truly is, I find that I desire the change, I’m happy to wait, I’m privileged to suffer, for He is worth it. I choose to yield.
“For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.” Psalm 110:5