Sometimes, I wonder why people don’t see how good God really is.
I get that there’s plenty of wars between religions and people, and there’s a lot of evil in the world. I understand there are people dying, there are people who are lonely, I know there are others who are lost and confused and life is not easy.
I know people can be terrible. I know I can be terrible, too. And I know life and nature can lead to disaster at a higher percentage and at a higher frequency more often than we’d like to think.
To say that God is good and good all the time is not a statement I make lightly.
When I think of these things, I usually find my answer right where the other answers to most of my questions are – at the foot of the cross.
The cross confuses people looking for simple answers, but it offers clarity to those who ask the right questions.
I get that, too.
My favorite gospel is the book of John. If you’ve never read The Bible, I highly recommend starting with the book of John. (There’s a good movie about it, too, if you want to watch it called The Gospel of John.)
The reason that John is my favorite book is because I like the character of John. He’s the writer of the book, and he’s telling the story of the Jesus he knew and interacted with. He is also the only one of all twelve disciples that stayed with Jesus while Jesus was being crucified. He’s the one to whom Jesus entrusts with the care of Mary, Jesus’ mother.
Now that I’m a mother, and I have a son, I have a hard time imagining what Mary would have felt at the foot of the cross; not because I can’t relate to a mother watching something terrible happen to her son, but because that’s a level of terror even my son – who likes to climb up the cat tower in my house, jump off of the back of the couch, and fearlessly rides his bike down the steep hill by our driveway – has yet to achieve (Thank God, too – I’m not sure I could handle it).
John I can more easily, and willingly, relate to at this scene. John is someone who has spent the latter years of his life searching out holiness, finding it in human form, and following him as a friend; someone who knew what Jesus’ humor was like, what made him smile, and when it was definitely time to check his blood sugar. Someone who felt the same sadness at the rich man’s departure, someone who felt the spurn of the religious elite and the scorn of those after earthly gain. He’s likely wept with Jesus at the death of John the Baptist, who was beheaded by Herod’s command.
So John, alone with Jesus’ mother, watches the cross as it happens. He’s the only one who’s stayed with Jesus. He’s the one who is to watch after Jesus’ mother. He stays and watches the terrible thing happen to Jesus, as Jesus is whipped, spit on, humiliated, and mocked. He watches as Jesus is abandoned by first his dignity, then his friends, and then his father.
How could John see anything good from God in that moment?
But it turns out, of course, that that was the best good the entire history of the universe will see – Jesus’ sacrificial love for his bride, the church, and his love, providing a way for redemption with a ransom of his blood.
So if the greatest good for the world looks to the average person a thing of terror, I’d say it’s easy to see the good things God does today are hardly seen as ‘good’ to some of us. But I still wonder at how we can miss so much of it.
What’s something good that you didn’t really see as ‘good’ at first, but when you took a deeper look, you saw that it was good after all? Sound off in the comments!