“How great is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you, which you bestow in the sight of men on those who take refuge in you.” (Psalm 31:19-20)
These are comforting words at a time when the world seems to be unravelling. We can allow the continual bombardment of bad news to overwhelm us, or we can find encouragement in the biblical record of God’s enduring goodness. Let’s choose the latter!
When the psalmist David exclaimed “How great is your goodness,” things weren’t going well for him. In fact, he was in great distress and danger. But he knew that no matter how bad the circumstances around him, the goodness of God toward him was even greater.
Several years ago, I read Randy Alcorn’s compelling work, If God is Good: Faith in the Midst of Suffering. There’s a story in that book that absolutely gripped me at the time. Here is an excerpt:
Sinclair Ferguson tells the story of English missionary Allen Gardiner. In January 1852, a search party found Gardiner’s lifeless body. He and his companions had shipwrecked on Tierra del Fuego. Their provisions had run out. They starved to death. Gardiner, at one point, felt desperate for water; his pangs of thirst, he wrote, were “almost intolerable”.
Far from home, he died alone, isolated, weakened, and physically broken.
Despite the wretched conditions of his death, Gardiner wrote out Scripture passages in a journal, including Psalm 34:10—“The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger; but they that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing”. Near death, his handwriting feeble, Gardiner managed to write out one final entry in his journal: “I am overwhelmed with a sense of the goodness of God.”
In the stresses of life, in times of struggle and pain, in brokenness and need what is most important to remember? I believe it is this: God is good.
No matter what is going on, no matter what has happened or is about to happen, God is good, and he is with us. Jesus our Lord assures us, “I am with you always. I will never leave you nor forsake you.” In every stage and every state of life, he is there and the reassuring reality of his presence is especially keen in times of personal hardship and in times when the world seems to go from crisis to crisis.
As you contemplate your circumstances today and the state of the world, take heart in the goodness of God. Take courage from the assurance that he is with you. God is good and we can trust him!
I began 2023 reflecting on the goodness of God and pondering scripture passages that speak specifically of his goodness. It was exactly the sort of overwhelm that I needed — an overwhelm of hope. Here are a few passages and a few quotes to help you do the same.
Think on These Things…
The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? (Psalm 27:1)
I will praise you forever for what you have done; in your name I will hope, for your name is good.(Psalm 52:9)
Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me. (Psalm 54:4)
His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. (2 Peter 1:3)