“We don’t believe something by merely saying we believe it, or even when we believe that we believe it. We believe something when we act as if it were true.” -Dallas Willard
I don’t know about you, but over the years there are a lot of things that I have believed about God. Some of them good, some bad, but what I believed was certainly never neutral. I say that because if I am completely honest with myself, what I believe about God impacts how I live through every trial, my decision making, my speech, my actions and attitudes toward others and the world around me. My beliefs about God color everything in my world. Whether you acknowledge it or have even taken the time to think about it, the same is true for you. We will live out what we really believe to be true about God. We will react to circumstances and to people in a way that reveals our heart’s honest assessment of who God is. Particularly in times of crisis or suffering, I can count on my initial response to reveal the truth that my heart is holding on to. There are many times when this has been God’s avenue for revealing what I am really clinging to. Conviction isn’t a fun process but such a necessary one in sanctification. Let’s wrestle with this idea a bit using one of God’s attributes: His goodness. If you asked me if God was good, I would surely say yes. I have spent my life learning about who God is, singing songs about Him, watching Him work in my life and the lives of others. I can give you many examples of ways I have seen God work that would be a testimony to His goodness. Like the quote from Dallas Willard I shared, the question is not whether I would say God is good or even whether I believe that I believe it. The question is “Do I act as if it were true?” For me, my answer to that comes when my heart bumps up against the hard and unexpected things of life. Do I act as if God is good when the pregnancy test is negative again? Do I know Him to be good when the adoption stalls and our hearts ache for our little boy? Do I trust that God’s plan is still good when the things we often count on for security are very shaky or completely gone? When I can’t see what He is doing or imagine at all how a situation can be allowed by Him, but more than that, somehow be meant for my good, will my steps and my words continue to show that my heart knows He is good?
I know that for you the circumstances will be different. Maybe you are struggling to believe God is good in the midst of a diagnosis, the loss of a loved one, financial turmoil, or just the isolation and fear surrounding this virus. What I do know is that God will meet you there. Not only does He tell us that He is good and that He never lies, He gives His children the faith required to walk through these messes in life. He doesn’t tell us it will be easy, but He tells us that it is accomplishing good for us and glory for Him. He doesn’t require that we grit our teeth and give lip service to His goodness when our hearts aren’t believing it. He asks us to lay even that at His feet. We can come, in honesty, asking Him to show us what we are really believing about Him. If it is not truth, He will reveal that. He fights for us to experience His truth and His goodness even as He holds us and lets us cry into His chest when things just hurt. Our God is big enough to handle our doubts, questions, and unbelief when we bring it to Him. Please don’t avoid those conversations with your Father. When we don’t believe in His goodness, we will believe the lies Satan tells us about Him and ourselves. We will believe that when trials arise He is punishing us for past sin that He has already forgiven or that He is unsympathetic to the cries of our hearts. We will live as if He is someone He is not, and that is devastating to our relationship with Him. Ask God to convince you of His goodness in the deepest and hardest places of your heart. He longs to meet you there. You are dearly loved by a GOOD God.