In church today the pastor said that God was always a “good” God. He is not capable of being anything else. So if something happens that makes you question God’s good-ness, rest assured that the trial or crisis you are undergoing is only for your eventual growth.
Well yes, ok.
First of all, one could say that about anything. Fate is benevolent because it is supposed to happen. It is just as easy for us to believe that Fate is “good,” or that the gods are “good” or that any omniscient force that cares about humanity is “good.” In any of those cases, that belief would then come with the idea that everything happens for a reason. And if the caring, omniscient force is “good,” then that reason must also be good, because courses of events are set in motion for the purpose of achieving the “good” end result.
Some would say that this mindset is sort of uplifting. When we’re suffering, we may think, “but this is just part of a master plan that is really going to work out for the best!” However… consider the following:
So if someone is going through a crisis that makes them want to commit suicide, all we have to say is, “no, just wait– God is good! So you will come out of this stronger than ever!”
Well, um, no.
A local girl who was abducted and traumetized 5 years ago did not come out of it stronger than ever. She’s not even stronger than ever now, after five years of intense therapy and counseling. She may not even be stronger than ever 20 years from now. Sure, it all may have happened for a reason, but who’s to say whether that girl will ever know what that reason is? Or, was she traumetized to teach someone else a lesson? And in that case, why in the world would God use that child?
I am not one of those people who likes saying things like, “if we had a merciful God, this war wouldn’t be happening!” or “If our God was only benevolent, this never would have happened,” or “How could our Good God let this happen?!”
Regardless of what message God meant by handing us the trials we face, regardless of what we’re supposed to take from it, and regardless of whether God is “good” or not, I think it’s up to us to make each experience meaningful to ourselves. It’s not just about finding the “silver lining in the clouds;” it’s about realizing that there don’t even have to be clouds.
Positive thinking carries so much weight. I would not ever condone feigning ignorance (pretending the clouds aren’t there), but sometimes they do only appear to people whose perceptions are skewed.
In the movie “The Bishop’s Wife” (the old version with Cary Grant), Cary Grant’s character says to Loretta Young’s character, “you are one of the few people I’ve met who know how to make a Heaven here on Earth.”
The point is not that there aren’t any clouds– the point is that we always have the option of being above them.