You Are Good, And What You Do Is Good
Tuesday, February 11 2020
These days I have lived the words from Hebrews 13:9, that “it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace”.
The grace of God’s presence with me always: when sometimes I am joyfully leaping around my "high places”, or when other times I am painfully plodding through my "valley of the shadow”.
The grace of God in the faces of family and friends who stick close no matter what: who bear all things, believe all things, hope all things and endure all things together with me.
The grace of God as He speaks profound comfort and courage to me from His Word.
A few weeks ago, my heart was deeply strengthened by the grace of God’s words spoken in Psalm 119:68:
“You are good, and what You do is good…”
I know in my spirit that these words are absolute truth - but it certainly does not always seem or feel that it is so. Sometimes what God does or what God allows does not appear to be good at all!
But then, by His grace, several other passages of Scripture came to my mind and heart to remind me, and to embed and anchor in me, the truth of these words, “You are good, and what You do is good…”
Joseph, the well-known patriarch from of old, after years of being rejected and sold into slavery to traveling Egyptian merchants by his jealous brothers, then being falsely accused and jailed by Potiphar’s (the captain of Pharoah’s guard) wife, then over and over again being forgotten by fellow prisoners, finally ended up being freed and made vizier of Egypt (that is, the second most powerful man in the country next to Pharaoh). When his hungry brothers came up from Israel to Egypt looking for food during a particularly severe famine, and Joseph met them again after many years had passed, he said to them: “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” (Genesis 50:20) For many years, not much had seemed to be good in Joseph’s life, and in fact many people had intended to do him harm. But… but God allowed it all, because HE meant it for good; because many people were going to survive and live as a result of what He had permitted to happen to and through Joseph. And so it is with me: I may live days and weeks, months and even years of intended harm by others, but God will always, ALWAYS, intend it for good in my life, in order to accomplish His best will and purpose in and through me.
As the author to the Roman Christians wrote: “We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” (8:28) Joseph loved God, and had a definite call upon his life for His purposes; and so, in all things God worked for his good, even in the years of slavery and imprisonment in a foreign land. And so it is with me: I love God, and I know I have been called according to His purpose - so I can be completely assured that in all things He will work for my good, no matter how not-good my circumstances may appear to me to be.
The prophet Jeremiah put it this way: “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (29:11) God’s thoughts towards me are never to harm me, even though outward situations might try to convince me otherwise; but instead to do me good and to prosper me, to give me a hopeful and blessed future.
As I wrote in my devotional journal a few weeks back: When my heart is sad and nostalgic and still aching with the pain of people and things lost, people and things that may never be restored to me this side of heaven, I so need to remember these verses. I need to indelibly etch them onto the tablets of my heart, and remind myself every moment of every day that “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9) I understand my way in life only as far as I can see it - and even then, I don’t always understand it well. Because the absolute truth of my life lies above and beyond my own thoughts; because what seems to me to be the best way, is usually not. God is so much bigger than anything I could ever think or imagine, and His thoughts and ways are so much higher than anything I could ever envision or ask.
So yes! All these words from God to me have been a reminder of His absolute and eternal truths, and a strengthening of my heart by His grace.
Dear God: "You are good, and what You do is good…” Always. Help me to live this day, and every day, not by what I see or hear or feel, but by faith in the absolute trustworthiness of Your words to me - even when everything around me seems to declare the contrary. When some things that continue to happen in my life seem like anything but good, remind me that whatever was intended for evil against me You intend and work for good - because Your thoughts and plans and purposes towards me are for my present well-being and for a hopeful and blessed future. Amen.
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