“Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures.” James 1:16–18

It was not that long ago innocent people were attacked at Twin Towers and the Pentagon. Do you remember the immediate national response of opening the doors of churches and holding prayer meetings all across this great land? I do not recall any general attitude blaming God asking, “Where was God?” or “If God is a good God why would He allow this?” In fact, there was quite the opposite effect, there was almost a universal sense of prayer that God would be good to the suffering and to extend His protection over a nation that, for the moment, appeared to have a renewed sense of introspection.

The event of prayer was not an unusual one in our nation’s history. From the days of our first president, through the struggles of the Civil War, and on into the last century, national days of thanksgiving or repentance were called for from the highest office in the land and echoed from its pulpits. Trials always led to a people who went to their knees in supplication for God’s goodness to be once again granted to them.

I wonder today, less than two decades after that attack, if America would have the same general reaction. It seems that accusations against God are more often voiced. We do not have an attitude of accountability, but rather an attitude of privilege and entitlement, it seems. Has God changed or have we? Humanism always leads to those obnoxious qualities. It tends to attempt to manage individual liberty and order God into specific roles in our lives. You are more likely to hear people blame God for evil rather than repent of their own sin for which evil consequences are earned.

The simple truth is the fact that God is good! It is His nature. It is His character. James is quite clear in the words we have repeated above. There is great deception hidden in questioning God’s goodness! Do not wander into the pathway of the unbeliever who feels entitled, even emboldened by his problems, to rebelliously dare to question God’s goodness. “Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever” (Psalm 136:1).

The thought struck me that God’s goodness may often be veiled away to the unsaved mind. There is no doubt that believers are the direct recipients of the lion’s share of God’s goodness. There are thousands of ways which God’s goodness is revealed in the experience of a believer over the course of his lifetime. More and more each day, the believer learns the real benefit he receives from God as Lamentations 3:22–25 poignantly declares: “Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. ‘The LORD is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘therefore will I hope in Him!’ The LORD is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him.”

Unsaved people are also direct recipients of God’s goodness, though indirect and direct goodness is a little more difficult for them to distinguish. In the beginning God gave man great goodness on this earth. “And God said, ‘See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food’?…?. Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good” (Genesis 1:29ff). Ecclesiastes 5:18f reveals, “Here is what I have seen: it is good and fitting for one to eat and drink, and to enjoy the good of all his labor in which he toils under the sun all the days of his life which God give him; for it is his heritage. As for every man to whom God has given riches and wealth, and given him power to eat of it, to receive his heritage and rejoice in his labor—this is the gift of God.”

Our Lord uses the unassailable fact of God’s goodness to encourage saints to do good to others in: “… Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” Because the unsaved fume and rage in their entitled mentality against God’s providence they are in danger of discounting the purpose of any goodness which they do receive. Romans 2:4 challenges their thinking: “Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?” You may be assured of God’s goodness even in your trying times; pray that you may recognize the rays of His compassion even when life seems darkest.

Saints, you are the best positioned to fully experience that God is good (Psalm 84:11), He works all for good concerning you (Romans 8:28ff), He never swerves from His goodness toward you (Deuteronomy 8:15f), and His goodness and mercy pursue you (Psalm 23:6). All that is left for the saint is to taste and see the goodness of God (Psalm 34:8) and go on trusting! Trust and obey.