Is God Really Good?

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The Sunday School answer is a resounding YES!  But we all know that as good as Sunday School may have been growing up, much of what we live in today seems so distant from those old stories. Ours is a chaotic, confused world. A world where death, destruction, and deception reign unrelentingly. Catch a glimpse of the news and if there hasn’t been a mass shooting somewhere, the government is hammering down on its citizens, political conflict rages and families are on the brink of ruin. How can you say God is good when all of this pain is rampant in the streets?

Shifting from the global chaos, I look closer to home, to those around me, and to my own life. The list of trials and troubles seems endless. I thought if you followed Jesus, everything worked out for good. After all, that’s what some of those radio preachers tell me. You know, Jesus and the American dream are synonymous, right? You’ve got to be kidding!  And I have a bridge over the ocean I can sell you!

Let’s wake up and realize that hard things happen to good people, Jesus-loving, Jesus-following people.  Here’s a list of what’s going on around me:

  • My friend’s brother died choking on food. His brother was not a Jesus follower.
  • My wife was diagnosed with breast cancer.  She had a double mastectomy.
  • A young man’s wife left him. She found someone better, or so she claims.
  • A friend’s wife was in an accident. Her car totaled.
  • No one showed up for the Bible Study group I organized. 
  • I went in for a stent and came out with quadruple heart bypass surgery.
  • I found my dad, dead. He had been gone for two days.
  • A friend got laid off just as their kid is about to be born.
  • A young man’s porn addiction led to illegal sexual acts and prison time.
  • The customer in front of me took the last bowl of soup I wanted. 
  • My friend wants to be married and it’s not happening.

Now, tell me God is good?  

He is all the time. 

Here’s the deal, good is not defined by circumstances. Even if I gave you a list of favorable things, does that somehow cancel out the hard things in life?  Is God good because of the following:

  • I got an unexpected raise.
  • Your house sold fast and for more than asking price.
  • Your son made the football team.
  • Your daughter took first place in gymnastics!
  • Your wife is pregnant again!
  • You love your church!
  • That new car in your garage looks awesome!
  • Your NFL team won the championship!

Good is not circumstantial. In fact, good is not a thing at all. Good is a person. That person is Jesus.

The Bible teaches that everything God does for us is for our good and his glory (Romans 8) because God is by his very nature good. He is the definition of good and his goodness is best seen in his Son, Jesus. 

Goodness is not defined by me. My agenda, my wants, dislikes, and my opinions do not construct my definition of good. God is good and I can trust that every action toward me is good and for my good. Yes, even if his goodness comes in difficult packages. When I had my open heart surgery, God was writing his story in me. As excruciatingly painful as it was, there is total goodness that comes out of that dark season of my life. I couldn’t admit it at the time, but I can now. 

So, what are you holding on to that proves in your mind God is not good?  What is your beef with Him? 

It took me almost a decade to get married. When I was 21, I specifically recall God telling me to start looking for a wife. My insecurities, which were rooted in lies about myself and a skewed view of God made the search for a godly wife a very difficult process. Somewhere in my mid-twenties, I panicked. In fact, I got angry with God. He was not holding up to his side of the bargain. How dare God tell me at 21 to look for a wife and now years later, I am still single and lonely while all my friends and cousins are getting married left and right. What is wrong with me?  What is wrong with God?

I don’t yell much, but one night in my bachelor’s apartment, I had it out with God. 

“Give me a wife, now!”  

Of course, I knew best. I was so much wiser than God. Yet, he was so patient with me. He let me vent while His Spirit remained steadfast. 

“I am good.” He said. “I am good whether you marry or not.”

I relented. He was right. God is good, supernaturally so. Like Paul says in the Book of Philippians, I can be content in any and all circumstances because of who God is.

Growing up, I wasn’t sure people were always for me. I wasn’t sure I really mattered that much to them. Perhaps, God was the same way?

Hardly so! Now, as I look upon the glory of God revealed in His Son, Jesus, I see utter and unrelenting goodness. Not circumstantial goodness, but goodness that transcends circumstances. Goodness that redeems me for eternity present and eternity future. 

In the end, I did get married, to an awesome, beautiful, witty, feisty, and Jesus-loving Canadian woman!  Can I say God is good?  Absolutely, even if I had never met her and never married.

Is God good? 

He is regardless of what’s on your list. 

Warrior On!

If you struggle with seeing God’s goodness and would like to talk more, reach us at

David Riffel is the Founder and Executive Director of Having gone through his warrior years (18-30) essentially without a mentor, God has placed in him a heart for warriors, to come alongside them in various ways as they figure out life. David’s newly released book, Mentoring Warriors: Coming Alongside Young Men 18-30, outlines principles for mentoring and gives advice for warriors in six key areas of life: self-management, life skills, education/career, relationships, faith, and identity.

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