A friend has cancer (no, that’s not the “good” part). It had been in remission, and then it came back (still not to the good part yet). So the doctors had a treatment plan, and (here it comes) the various counts came back in a very encouraging way, suggesting that the transplant had excellent chances of success. And I thought, “God is so good!”
And He is. Of course He is. But I caught myself and asked this question: Would I have said the same if the test results had not been so encouraging? Did I say that God is good when the first cancer news came, or when my friend learned that the remission was not so permanent as we hoped?
Because that’s the test. Your real view of God is revealed, I believe, when the train comes off the tracks. It’s easy to say nice things about our Creator when everything is smooth and easy. The truth is revealed in what you say about God when the cut is still bleeding.
No matter who has cancer, and no matter how treatable it is, God still made me. He still loves me. I still reject Him on a practically continual basis, and yet He still sent His son to die for me. When we were enemies, He reached down in an unimaginable way and gave me something I did not deserve: a way to relate with Him that depends only on faith and not on works.
And that, people, is good. A goodness that remains good even if the path does not seem so easy. It is a goodness that remains good even if the doctor says that there is nothing more that she can do.
The question is, do I believe it? Do I say that God is good even when the news seems bad on the surface? Or do I only say that God is good when He does things that I agree with?
I want to be like Job. When Job had lost everything and had no clue what God was up to, Job said, “Though He slay me, still will I hope in Him.” (Job 13:15). That’s faith, folks. That’s a faith in the Father that does not depend on how good you feel at the moment.
I want to be like Horatio Spafford. He wrote the hymn we all love: It is well with my soul. He wrote it in the wake of the death of his four daughters, and Spafford’s words are what we all should be able to say:
When peace like a river attendeth my way
When sorrows like sea billows roll
Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say
It is well, it is well, with my soul.
Whatever my lot. In good times or bad. God is good, either way.
The question is, do I believe that? Do I believe it and live by it in such a way that someone tossed around by those sea billows will say: What is up with you?
And then I can say, “Let me tell you about a Savior whose goodness does not depend upon your circumstances. Who is good even when the times are not.”
That’s who I want to be.