I received some good news recently, and it was great! It made me so happy; my emotions began soaring, and the whole landscape of my world seemed brighter. I felt inspired and alive, so naturally, I did what you probably would have done in that moment—I threw up a quick prayer of thanks.
I said something like, “God, thank you for this moment. Thank you for answering prayer, and thank you for being so good.”
A little while later though, I started thinking about that prayer and I realized something. God hadn’t suddenly become good just because my bad news finally came to an end. He wasn’t an aloof, indifferent God who suddenly turned good once my good news finally arrived.
God was already good ten minutes earlier, before the good news finally found me.
It might be helpful for us to ponder this. In the middle of bad news everything seems bad, including God. And then when good news breaks through the gloom we suddenly feel like God is good again.
It’s not true. Ten minutes before the bad time ends He is still good.
At this very moment—whether you are buckling under bad news or soaring because of good news—God is at work. He is working goodness and an eternal purpose in and through your situation. Or course you probably can’t see it when everything looks bad, but it’s there. God’s purposes are still being done, and they will eventually be seen.
Romans 8:28 is a verse that often gets applied too quickly to painful situations. It is the famous passage where the Apostle Paul declares, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
We have to be careful with this passage, because it is almost impossible to see or believe in an overarching cosmic goodness when we face news of shootings, abuse, or personal loss or breakdown.
Paul wasn’t telling us that all things are good or that all things become good. They don’t. Some things are ferociously and appallingly bad. However, even amid the bad God works for the good, and if we hold steady during the bad we will eventually be reuinted with the good.
Let’s just remember when we do, that the goodness we sense from God during the good times was still there ten minutes before the bad times came to an end.