By Kathy Howard, Crosswalk.com
Christians often say, “God is good!” Then in the next breath, we thank God for His goodness in a specific situation. I heard it when the life of a sick child was spared. And when a biopsy returned benign. And when a job in jeopardy was saved. And when a rebellious teen turned back to God.
But what about when the child dies or the test results come back “cancer” or the job is lost or the teenager never returns? Is God good then? Can we still be grateful to God?
Yes. God is good all the time. The Bible says so. God cannot be good one moment and not the next. He cannot be good in one situation and not another.
A Facebook post I read not long ago caused me to reflect on this truth. The Facebook friend wrote, “God is good!” And then she detailed all the recent positive happenings in her life as the proof.
This really troubled me. But then I realized I’ve done it too. I’ve thanked God and declared His goodness when things turned out the way I’d hoped. But was that because my circumstances were easy? What about the times when my circumstances are hard? Should I only thank God when my life is free of trouble and difficulty? Is that the only time God is good?
The Bible teaches that our circumstances do not dictate or define God’s goodness. God’s character dictates His goodness. God is good all the time. Therefore, we can live with a constant attitude of gratitude no matter our circumstances.
God is Good All the Time
Here are a few truths from Scripture to help us develop a correct understanding of the goodness of God:
God’s will for our lives is good (Romans 12:2). Sometimes – in fact, often – His will includes trials and difficulty that He uses for our refinement.
In all things, in all circumstances, our good God is working for our good. “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” (Romans 8:28).
- The assurance of God’s goodness enables us to “give thanks in all circumstances” (1 Thessalonians 5:18) and to declare in easy times and hard times, “God is good!”
Living in the Truth of God’s Goodness
Since God is good all the time, no matter our circumstances, let’s allow that truth to impact our daily lives and the way we talk and relate to others. Here are a few suggestions:
Remember that God is good all the time. Not just when things are going the way we want them to.
Thank Him for His goodness in every life situation.
Be sensitive to those around us who are facing difficult and painful circumstances.
- Declare His goodness in every circumstance, particularly in the hard times.
Changing our understanding about God’s goodness can change how we approach every circumstance of life and each person we encounter. God is good all the time!
Why Should We Be Thankful?
Several Hebrew and Greek words are translated as “thank,” “thanks,” and “thanksgiving” in the Bible. However, they all reflect the truth that our good God deserves the gratitude and praise of His people. Thankfulness is the right response to God and His grace in our lives.
God wants our thanksgiving and commands us to be thankful. He doesn’t need anything from us but He does expect us to respond to who He is and what He does with gratitude.
“I don’t need the bulls you sacrifice; I don’t need the blood of goats. What I want instead is your true thanks to God; I want you to fulfill your vows to the Most High. Trust me in your times of trouble, and I will rescue you, and you will give me glory.” (Psalm 50:13-15, NLT)
We don’t deserve anything, yet God provides. We don’t deserve forgiveness or salvation, yet God extends it. Every good thing in our lives is an act of grace from our loving and merciful heavenly Father. Even strength and endurance in times of difficulty are grace gifts from God
Giving thanks to God for His mercy and kindness is a blessing and a privilege. It shifts our attitude and makes us more aware of God’s activity in our lives. It humbles us and allows us to see just how truly great our God is!
Should We Thank God Even When Times Are Hard?
The Apostle Paul showed us how to give thanks to God despite our circumstances. Trials, difficulty, and persecution filled Paul’s life, yet he purposefully practiced thanksgiving. He called the church to a constant attitude of gratitude even in times of difficulty. For instance, when the church in Thessalonica suffered persecution, Paul wrote:
“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, NIV).
And from prison in Rome, Paul encouraged the Philippians:
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7, NIV).
Paul knew that even when our physical circumstances are dire, God is present and God is working for our good and His glory. Purposefully focusing on giving Him thanks opens the door to joy and peace even in the midst of heartache and struggle.
4 Reasons to Thank God in Times of Trouble
Even if we’re in the midst of some trial, difficulty, or heartache right now we can still thank the Lord for who He is and what He has done for us.
The writer of Psalm 118 sets the example for us. He knew trouble. His life had not been easy. He had been betrayed and attacked. And he had felt caught in a hopeless and dangerous situation with no way out.
But in the middle of those trials, he also experienced God’s personal intervention on his behalf. In Psalm 118:8-14, the psalmist testified to God’s deliverance and expressed his gratitude. In this passage, we find multiple reasons to thank God when we face times of trouble:
God is our refuge – When storms are raging all around us, we can always find safety in God’s presence. He is our shelter from the storm. “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1). Other people may not be fully trustworthy, but God can always be trusted. Other people may not always be dependable, but we can depend on God in any and every situation. Like the psalmist, when we’re in the midst of trouble, let’s thank God that He is our refuge. When we hide ourselves in Him, He will be our shelter!
God is our protector – When people and circumstances fight against us, we do not have to wonder or worry about victory. God Himself goes with His people and fights for them (Deuteronomy 30:3-4). When the psalmist was surrounded and swarmed by his enemies, victory came through the name of the LORD. Do you ever feel “swarmed by enemies?” Call on the name of the LORD. Thank Him that He is your protector!
God is our strength – “The LORD is my strength, and my song; He has become my salvation” (Psalm 118:14). God saves! He will deliver us through trouble with the strength of His might. He is our reason to sing, so let us lift a song of praise and thanksgiving to the God who is our strength!
- God is good all the time! – Because God is good, He is working in all our circumstances for our ultimate good and for His glory!
Our good God is our refuge, our protector, and our strength! If we can name no other blessings in our life today, we can thank God for these. Let’s thank Him today, especially in the midst of trouble.
A former “cultural Christian,” Bible teacher Kathy Howard now lives an unshakeable faith for life and encourages other women to embrace real, authentic faith. Kathy is the author of 8 books, including “30 Days of Hope When Caring for Aging Parents”. Find spiritual encouragement and free discipleship helps on her website.
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