God is Good (Luke 22:39-46) • Pastor Chris Liu
If you have grown up in the church, you have probably heard of this call and response: “God is good! All the time! All the time! God is good!” While this is a fun saying to get people excited about God, what does it really mean that God is good? And how do we believe it when we go through difficult times in our lives?
There is a broad range of definitions for the word “good”. And God is all of those things. But, the main thing we have to remember is that we cannot separate what is good from God. You cannot have goodness without God, just as you cannot have God without goodness. God alone is good. God is the source of everything good. And we can’t fully understand true goodness without seeing it from His perspective.
This first thing that I want us to remember is that God’s character cannot change (Num 23:19; Jam 1:17; Heb 13:8). Unlike us humans who change our opinions and even our character can change, God does not change who He is. He is good all the time. Not just today or when He feels like it, but all the time. He is faithful all the time. He is loving all the time. He is just all the time. He is forgiving all the time. We can go down the list of the different characteristics of God and say that He is all those things all the time.
The second thing to remember is that God doesn’t always work in the same way we would. We live in a cause and effect society and often times we expect God to work in the same way. If we do something good, we expect God to bless us. If we sin, we expect God to punish us. Sometimes, God does this, but other times He does not. It isn’t that He is changing who He is, but that He works in ways that we don’t always understand.
There are two stories in the Bible (Luke 13:1-5 and John 9), where people were expecting Jesus to blame people’s horrible death and physical suffering due to sin. But, Jesus doesn’t do that. And the point is that just because we go through a tragedy in our lives, it doesn’t mean that God is punishing us. We aren’t always going to understand why God does what He does, so the more important thing for us to do is to trust in who He is.
Who is the God that Jesus knew and how did He experience God’s goodness? On the night before Jesus was going to be crucified, He went to the Garden of Gethsemane and prayed that God would “take away this cup” (Luke 22:39-46). Jesus didn’t want to go through with the crucifixion. He knew it would be painful and hard and lonely. But, He said, “not my will, but Yours be done.” Jesus ultimately trusted in God’s plan. And in the same way, we need to do the same.
This goes back to the first point about God being unchanging. In the middle of the difficult times in our lives, we need to hold on to the fact that God doesn’t change who He is. We can trust in His unchanging characteristic. God is still good. God is still faithful. God is still present in our lives. God is sovereign over all things. And while it is hard to hear it when we are going through difficult times, we need to believe that God can take this hardship and work it out for His glory.
God is good…all the time! All the time… God is good!