God's Idea of Good

  • Jan. 19, 2016
  • #8797

It is only when we suffer hardship that we truly understand God's idea of goodness and blessing in our lives.

God's Idea of Good

Hi, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada with a good word from Psalm 84.

I’m sure you’ve read it many times, but it bears repeating. Psalm 84, verses 11-12 says, "For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord gives grace and glory; no good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly."      

I learned those verses from Psalm 84 when I was a teenager. And back then, I relished the thought that Wow! No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly... Regarding the up-right part, the way I figured it, I just needed to do my homework, finish my chores, be nice to Aunt Kitty, and not fight with my sisters, go to church, say my prayers... and... and. You can see where my head was at, right? I assumed that if I kept my nose clean, God would give me good grades, good friends, good knees to last me through field hockey season, and a good college to attend. We Christians assume that if we are obedient, God will have to come through and give us financial blessings or trials that can be easily managed. If we do our part, God will dole out the good. Won't he? Isn’t that what Psalm 84 is saying? No good thing will he withhold from those who walk uprightly. It could not be more plain.

Well, I have lived long enough in this wheelchair to know that sometimes our idea of "good" is very different from God's idea of good. So how should we read Psalm 84? Well, try this: if we walk uprightly, God will not withhold joy. If our walk is blameless, God will not withhold peace. He will not withhold the gift of increased faith or greater courage. These are just a few of the good things God will not withhold if we walk uprightly. And there’s more, many more: God will not withhold grace when we come to him in need. We will be able to run spiritually and not grow weary; we'll be able to walk in faith and not faint. If we walk uprightly, He will not withhold opportunities to sow His Gospel seed and shine His light. He will not withhold patience or endurance or the favor of His nearness and sweetness. He will not withhold the gift of heaven-sent happiness. None of these wonderfully good things will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.

And friend, here’s the lesson: Some of God's best gifts must be unwrapped in the darkness. Only when we suffer hardship do we begin to understand God’s idea of good. Because in great hardship, we are more quickly to align our thoughts with his, and our ways with his. Gone is the self-centeredness that ruled our thinking. And suddenly we realize that life is not all about “us” and all about the really good things we want. When we suffer, we want what God wants. Our life priorities are straighter, and we long for His good in our lives. I wish I would’ve known that when I was a teenager. But it took a diving accident at the age of 17 to finally show me what Psalm 84 really meant. Because not even the so-called “good thing” of physical healing was the big deal – no, rather, the real deal was seeing how God birthed in my life more courage, more faith, more joy and peace than I ever experienced when I was on my feet.

So today, friend, consider your last major trial. I mean the kind of trial that, for you, was life altering. And let me ask, what "good thing" did the Lord give you during those difficult days? I pray that God will lift your gaze today to see your life from His perspective. And may he help you to treasure every good thing He sends your way when you walk uprightly.

© Joni and Friends

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