When “Good” Isn’t Good

Genesis 1:31 God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.

“Good…. Good…. Good…. Very good!”  That is God’s evaluation of creation.  It is not the world in which we now live with its famines, wars, diseases, and an endless list of disasters from the personal to the global level.  What happened?  It takes only two more chapters before our forebears take a nosedive out of paradise and send the planet into a death spiral.  But we don’t need the story of Adam and Eve to tell us how messed up we are as a species—we each prove that in our own lives. 

The difference between God’s will and our will is vast, but sadly we keep thinking our will is somehow better.    Like our first parents, we secretly wonder if God is depriving us by insisting on his will over ours.  We think God’s will is good in the least desirable way, like the whippings we got from our parents “for our good,” but God’s idea of good, like ours, is completely about our happiness, a happiness, however, that is far richer and more meaningful than we can imagine.  It’s not about cupcakes and arcade games, but awakened hearts and deepened relationships.

One cure for our doubt in God’s intentions is to see how good it is–very good–when he has full sway.  The creation story gives us a taste of the paradise we never had, shows us the fullness of God’s heart towards us, and makes us hungry to ask with all our hearts, “Your kingdom come, your will be done,” for we know his kingdom will fulfill all our deepest desires.  God’s will for us is delight, not a desert, though we may have to cross the desert to reach his ocean of goodness. 

We must always remind ourselves of this vision so that we do not lose faith along this very difficult journey.  In a world of opposition, good often faces hardship and pain and sorrow.  We are pilgrims who regularly find ourselves unwelcome, misunderstood, despised, and misused, and the only reward may be a heart that beats in closer rhythm to God’s.  Which is to say, the kingdom is within… and it may be only there where we find the blessings of grace bearing fruit, for few are willing to walk this difficult path.  Our hearts can find a true home only in God and his ways, and when his will finally holds sway, the universe will be a symphony of joy.

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