It seems to me that the expression “God is good (all the time)” has gone viral on a worldwide scale! When I was pastoring in Texas – I heard it. When we were serving in Namibia, Africa – I heard it. From the southern-most part to the northern regions in Malawi, East Africa – I heard it. I see it on Facebook and in blogs. I hear it recited on Christian television, even on television newscasts that are reporting natural disasters and catastrophes. I like hearing it because I know that truly God is good! Having said that, I will admit that there are times that I hear this expression that I feel a bit uncomfortable. Maybe uncomfortable is not the word to use – maybe uneasy would be better.
In the past couple of weeks we have seen the devastation of many tornados from Texas to Ohio. While I was watching the news reports covering the tornado in Moore, Oklahoma, I heard two interviews of people that were directly and indirectly affected by the storm. One woman gave, first-hand, the story of her survival and the total destruction of all that was around her. She lost EVERYTHING during the few minutes that the storm was on the ground in her location, but she told how blessed she was to be alive. In another story, a lady who lived just two streets over from the first, told just how blessed she was that she lost nothing during the storm.
Hearing these two stories, I began to have that uneasy feeling that I spoke of earlier. Two completely different perspectives of the storm, two completely different extents of loss and suffering. And yet, both spoke of the goodness of God and how blessed they were. The truth is, they were both blessed! The difference was that they were defining it differently.
How do we define God’s goodness and blessings in our lives? The man that has much might see God’s goodness in a different way than the man who has little. This reminds me of a church service in rural Malawi, Africa. Truthfully, it could have been in almost any church service in Africa, for that matter. The choir stood front and center and began to sing, “You Are Faithful O Lord”. When you watch this video, you will not see what I see, nor will you hear what I hear – for I have been there, and I know something about the people in this video. For one thing, their worldly possessions are meager at best. Most of them only have two changes of clothes. Please notice the fresh creases in the pants and shirts – and yet you can’t help but notice that most of the clothes do not fit nicely. There are few affordable department stores in which to buy “fitted” clothing – only bundles of clothes that people like you and me donate or discard.
The members of this choir and church do not have regular jobs that bring in a weekly salary that allows them to own a car, home, or furniture like you and I may. For the most part, they live in a two or three room house built of sun-dried, hand-molded bricks with a grass thatch roof. No air conditioner, no electricity, no glass windows. Many of these folks have lost more than one loved one to the bite of a malaria-carrying mosquito.
And yet they sing of the “faithfulness of God”! It is only when you know their story that you feel the full impact of the meaning of the faithfulness of God. You can see in their faces the true depth of gratitude to a just, loving God – even though they don’t have the material blessings of most.
The real truth is this: no matter what your position in life, no matter what you have or don’t have –
“God Is Good!”