Me with Danny
When our grandson Danny died after major heart surgery at the age of five, my wife and I found ourselves questioning the goodness of God. I’ve been a lifelong follower of the Lord; I believe in all of His wonderful attributes. As a pastor for over three decades (at the time) I had preached often on God’s attributes, frequently identifying three which gave strength to my faith in Him: God is all-powerful and can do what’s best, all-wise and knows what’s best, and all-loving and does what’s best. After Danny’s death we didn’t so much question God’s power or wisdom but did question His goodness.
Over the years I had read many good articles and books on the problem of pain, suffering, death, and evil. But with Danny’s death I was not reading about the subject but living it. I was not only living it myself but feeling my heart break for my daughter Julie (Danny’s mother), my wife (Danny’s grandma), and my grandchildren (Danny’s siblings).
In my mind I intellectually could still affirm that God is good, but in my heart I didn’t feel His goodness. I eventually took comfort that I was in some pretty good company in questioning the goodness of God. When Jesus was asleep in a boat with His disciples during an epic storm on the Sea of Galilee they woke Him and asked, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” (Mark 4:38) They didn’t question Jesus’ power as to whether He could do something about the storm nor did they question His wisdom in letting them take the boat into the storm. They asked Him whether He cared, they questioned whether He was acting good.
Author Tim Keller writes that “all sin against God is grounded in a refusal to believe that God is more dedicated to our good, and more aware of what that is, than we are. We distrust God because we assume he is not truly for us, that if we give him complete control, we will be miserable.” (Tim Keller, p. 137, The Prodigal Prophet) This is why we often conclude, Keller writes, “We will have to take things into our own hands – we can’t trust him.” (p. 138)
By God’s grace, and it is only with His gracious help, we must come fresh to the conviction that God will always do right by us! Yes, God is good all the time and all the time God is good!
“I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” Psalm 27:13