Waiting for God’s Goodness (1)
I would have lost heart, unless I had believed
That I would see the goodness of the LORD
In the land of the living.
Wait on the LORD;
Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart;
Wait, I say, on the LORD! Psalm 27.13, 14
The longing for goodness
The world longs for more of the goodness of God. We don’t have to look far or long to discover that deep groaning and desire.
Creation itself groans under the burden of human sin (Gen. 3.17, 18; Rom. 8.20-22). Man’s greed for material gain has jeopardized ecosystems and species all over the world. Conservationists strive against self-interest to restore health to portions of the creation, but it can seem as if they are fighting a losing battle. Concerns about changes in world climate generate initiatives designed to bring balance and goodness back to the environment.
People long for peace. Everywhere the cry goes out, “Peace! Peace!” But there is no peace, for human self-interest and the lust for power threaten all that is good and stable and decent in human society. Everyone wants justice. Everywhere people clamor for rights. We all want relief from trouble and anxiety, and we want someone to do something good for us.
But is the definition of what is good as firm as we might hope? People are in danger of becoming inured to the moral corruption, spiritual decay, and the wicked workings of our contemporary society. We are drowning in a sea of bad news, uncertain developments, decadent entertainments, dire forecasts, and a shape-shifting status quo. For many people, the answer to such disruptions is to redefine the terms of goodness – to call what is bad good, in hopes of assuaging our troubled consciences.
But the desire for true goodness persists. The world longs for more unity, harmony, purity, creativity, order, and love – more of what we have seen to be characteristic of the goodness of God. But the world is getting used to bad news, and cynicism, doubt, distrust, and narcissism are everywhere on the rise.
Still, the longing for goodness remains, and the challenge of bringing more of God’s goodness to light in the land of the living falls squarely on those who know that goodness and are called to exemplify and pursue it as a defining characteristic of their lives. For if Christians do not salt the world with the goodness of God, wherewith will it be salted (Matt. 5.13)?
In all the earth
In fact, as we have seen, “The earth is full of the goodness of the LORD” (Ps. 33.5). God showers His goodness upon us day by day, throughout the vast creation and in the people and cultures of the world. He holds out His goodness to us in His Word and Law, as well as the Lord Jesus Christ and His Holy Spirit. Everywhere God’s goodness refreshes and sustains us. But noting and enjoying the goodness of the Lord can be a difficult challenge for those who do not know Him or His goodness, and who tend to see more what’s wrong in the world than what can edify and give us hope.
We who know the Lord may discern and experience His goodness from a wide range of sources. God has invested His people with the calling to show His goodness to the world, as a witness to His faithfulness and love, and a portent of the promise entailed in the Good News of His Kingdom. So much should this calling motivate and guide us, so great should be our longing for God’s goodness to be known, that we, like David, can almost despair at the thought that the magnificent, omnipresent, unceasing goodness of God might go unnoticed, unacknowledged, and unappreciated.
Waiting for the goodness of the Lord
In response to our longing for the goodness of God to be more widely visible and acknowledged, the Lord tells us to “Wait.” In His way and time, He will make His goodness known. The Lord is working continuously to see to it that the knowledge of His glory and goodness will be everywhere present in the world (Hab. 2.14). Through His people He is filling the world with Jesus Christ, and in His time, He will see to it that every eye shall see Him, every knee shall bow to Him, and every tongue confess Him as Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
For now, He calls us to wait. But not merely to sit passively about until He does something apart from us. Rather, He calls us to pray, to learn and discern more of His goodness, to demonstrate, celebrate, and accelerate His goodness by our lives and words, and above all to embody and proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ and His Kingdom.
The world longs for more goodness, but many in the world have already become so blind to true goodness, that when it is shown them, their response will be scorn, opprobrium, oppression, and worse. But show them we must, and call them to acknowledge the goodness of God with grateful hearts, before the judgment of God, which is also in all the earth (Ps. 105.7), overwhelms them, and all hope of goodness is lost forever.
1. What evidence do you see to indicate that the world is longing for more of the goodness of God?
2. What opportunities for showing God’s goodness do you have each week?
3. What can you do to begin observing and sharing more of God’s goodness?
Next steps – Preparation: Begin a journal to note the many ways you see God’s goodness each day. At the end of the day, give Him thanks and praise for His goodness.
T. M. Moore
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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.