Good

The title of today is Good.

I wonder why. I wonder why it isn't called Dark Friday or Death Friday, or maybe the Friday of the Tomb. Why is it called Good? I bet there were many on that day that wouldn't have called it good. Watching him die a cruel death that day, Jesus' family, followers, believers--and the hopeful that were ready to watch him overthrow their oppressors--probably didn't think it was good. They probably thought it was the end. Their hope was completely crushed. They likely contemplated giving up altogether. Depression Friday would be a better title.

Many people will post this phrase today "It's Friday night, but Sunday is coming." I have always loved that. It may be dark now, but the light will shine very shortly. In a little while, we'll be with the Father, Amy Grant sang in my teens.

But...I've been asking God for a while now "Are you really Good?" Maybe you have too.

I notice that people often say God is so good, after something good happens. It makes sense. But I never noticed it before this year. God answers a prayer and the response is God is so good. A child is healed, God is so good. A surgery is successful, God is so good. A bill is unexpectedly paid, or a job is procured, or marriage restored, God is so good. A lost person is saved, a lost child is found, a lost dream is revived, God is so good.

Miracles happen. Every good gift is from the Father. The goodness of God is in creation, so you don't even have to wait for a miracle to see it. I know the truth in all of this. But, is God good because He does things that are good?

You also don't have to look very far to see other things. But you don't hear people say God is Good after those things. A bomb went off in a Palm Sunday service in Egypt, God is so good? A young girl's body was found in a wooded area after her parents and search party looked for her for days, God is so good? A pastor left his church family, wife, and children to start a new life with his secretary. Is God good then?

If you and I know each other in other than internet life, you have been annoyed at some point by my retelling of a scene from the West Wing. One of my favorite scenes, of many favorites, is this one. The president's executive secretary, a woman who has worked with him and been his faithful friend for 30 years, is killed by a drunk driver. He stands in the echoing aisle of the National Cathedral after her funeral, smokes a cigarette in defiance of his abusive late Catholic Father, stomps it out on the tile and cusses God out in latin. As a global leader he has seen destruction, terrorism, innocence taken and unexplainable tragedy and he accuses God of doing these things for entertainment because he's cruel and unfair. Then he returns to his office ready to tell the world he is not running for a second term, telling God he can have the next in line, a dishonest weasel of a man, the vice president. As he waits for the time, he has a visit, a vision of sorts from the recently departed Mrs. Landingham. She says, "God doesn't make cars crash, and you know it." And just like that, she talks him out of quitting and tells him there is more work to be done, gets him to remember what matters and why God still needs him.

What I find so fascinating and honest about this scene is that there is no attempt to explain away any of the reality. Yes, her death was tragic and untimely. Yes, the world is full of unexplainable evil and God seems to allow it without intervention. Yes, you can cuss God out and He still wants you to come back and co-labor with him because there is still work to be done. Now is not the time to give up altogether. Sunday is coming.

I thought about ending this there, but its too idealistic for me. Sunday is coming. The resurrection is hope to me. But my reality is in front of me right now. The reality is, I spend a lot of time with women in excruciating pain. Her baby has died. Her body was raped and her dignity, peace, and identity stolen. Someone told her he loved her and then left her with a pregnancy and an infection, alone. She has lived a life of prostitution beginning in childhood with her mother or a family friend selling her like lawn furniture to evil men.

I also spend a lot of time alone. God didn't save my marriage. He hasn't given me my miracle. My financial situation is precarious at best.

Is God Good?

I've asked that question a lot. And the answer is I don't know.

But the answer I choose is yes, He is Good. Why? Because that's the truth. I know from experience that He is there in the midst of tragedy, holding the broken. He is there in the midst of horror, upholding the survivors. He is there in the midst of death, to carry home those that breathed their last. Because He is Good. But still, none of these are the reason I know He is Good.

I was talking to a friend about this very thing and I have repeated her words over and over in the past month or so. She said "We know he is good because the grave is empty." It really is that simple. He came, he suffered, he died, and he rose. No matter what darkenss this earth holds, His light will shine. He is alive, and He will reverse destinies and redeem all. It might be more than a weekend I have to wait. But in the mean time, with my hands balled up in fists at times, my teeth gritted, hot tears falling, I will co-labor with Him. There is still work to be done. Even if I can't see evidence of His goodness, my faith is the evidence of things I hope for, the conviction of things I can't see. {Heb 11:1} I will say without doubt, on this Friday, Easter Sunday, and every day...

God is so Good.