A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of reading Good God: the One We Want to Believe in but Are Afraid to Embrace by Lucas Miles. I enjoyed reading Good God, it was very eye opening. I realized that some of the beliefs about the goodness of God that many Christians hold to be true are actually wrong. I don’t necessarily agree with all of Pastor Miles’ points but overall I really liked the book and it has tremendously changed my way of thinking. Here are some of the quotes and phrases that stood out to me.
“If we see God as the one causing or even allowing our pain, then we will be paralyzed from standing our ground against the real perpetrator, the devil.”
The Bible says that the devil only comes to kill, to steal, and to destroy but Jesus came to give us abundant life. Unfortunately, many times we think that God sent the pain that was caused by the devil to teach us a lesson. That’s not the truth. And, because think that the pain caused by Satan was sent by God, we don’t stand firmly against him. Instead, we often doubt God and our faith begins to waver. But, the reality that you can take with you into any negative situation is that God does not send pain. He’s a good God and only gives good gifts to His children.
So, then, why do bad things happen?
FREE WILL = TRUE LOVE
Lucas Miles explained it this way. He says, “Because of the existence of evil, we can be convinced that God is actually better than we have previously thought… A world where no evil exists is also a world absent from choice. It might be a cleaner world, but it would still be a world forced upon humankind and devoid of love — for love always gives a choice.”
Personally, I loved that explanation. The world is filled with sin and people hurt and abuse each other all the time, and it’s sad. Really sad. It hurts the heart of God. Yet, He doesn’t force us to turn around and do the right thing, even though He could. Instead, He allows us to make our own choices. That’s the definition of true love. Of course, He longs to see us come home and gently nudges us in the right direction but ultimately the choice is ours. So, that’s why bad things happen so often: because we’re free to do whatever we want to do and unfortunately, many times we choose to do the wrong things.
Here’s another quote that stood out to me:
“God’s testing will never bring harm into our life. God’s testing will only expose our motives and intentions.”
Pastor Miles uses the example of Abraham and Isaac to further explain this point. When God asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, his only son, God had no intention of harming Isaac. In fact, He actually prepared a ram as the sacrifice ahead of time. By asking Abraham to sacrifice his only son, God was exposing his true motives and intentions. How willing was Abraham to follow God? Did he love God as much as he claimed? Did he love Isaac more than he loved God? All of these questions were answered the moment Abraham said yes to God. And so, clearly, Abraham’s intentions were good. That’s all the test was meant to reveal. It was never meant to harm him or Isaac. Testing in your life is not meant to harm you either.
“We aren’t destined to live our lives atop the rocky waves of human imperfection. We can exit the ride of personal effort at any time by simply embracing the unconditional love of God.”
I think this final quote sums up the message of the entire book perfectly. God is love and wants to love us. His love triumphs over hurt, sickness, fear, shame, and disappointment. His love heals and restores. If you’ve never experienced His radical love before, you can today by simply letting go and letting Him love you.
I’ll leave you with this well known scripture.
We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28
Even though things aren’t always good, God always turns it around for good for His children. He is good. He is love. And He only wants what’s best for you. If you’re struggling with believing any of this right now, I encourage you to pick up a copy of Good God for yourself and read about the never ending, never failing love of God. You can get a copy at amazon, Barnes & nobles and the google play book store.