When it comes to unearthing the treasures of God’s will in my life, they all have a similar thread–His goodness to me. When I say “goodness,” I do not mean a string of good circumstances that worked out in my favor, or that I’ve lived a life free from pain, suffering, or shame. Because I haven’t. In fact, my story is riddled with narratives about emotional pain, loss, grief, of not belonging, and other typical human storylines. I would most definitely be the underdog in one of those sports movies from the 90s. No, God’s goodness to me has been most bright and glorious in those dark moments.
Many of my not so pretty moments were sponsored by my own foolish choices. I wasn’t walking on the foundation of actually knowing God. I knew TONS about him. I grew up in church, I went to VBS, I went to a Christian school, I was in youth group and Bible studies. I had true faith in Him and all He’d done for me, but I didn’t really know His heart. I thought He was mad at me, disappointed in me, that I was never gonna measure up to His long list of requirements. In short, I didn’t really understand the gospel of grace.
Unfortunately, this wrong narrative about God had me either trying to earn His affection by being a good kid, getting good grades, singing at church, learning all I could from sermons, or it had me running the other way in rebellion and living a double-life. This dichotomous life came to a screeching halt my junior year of college. The Holy Spirit met me in my sin and rebellion and revealed the depth of His love for me during a communion service. I’ve never been the same since.
His goodness to me has always been His grace. No matter where I’ve found myself geographically–in the US or East Asia, He’s always been there offering more grace for me when I can’t go on in my own strength. He’s never berating me, beating me up for my sins or failures, rather, He’s always gently there, redirecting me and putting me back on course. No matter where I’ve found myself emotionally–afraid, restless, or anxious, He’s been my constant friend and comfort. No matter where I’ve found myself in the stages of grief, be they anger, withdrawal, denial, or acceptance, He’s been present–SO present in my heartaches.
Moses said, “Please, show me your glory.”
And He said, “I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name ‘The LORD.’ And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy.”
The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The LORD, The LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.”Exodus 33:19; 34:6-7, ESV
His goodness is His grace. His goodness is His kindness. His goodness is His glory. His goodness is His mercy. His goodness is His justice. His goodness is His wrath against disobedience. His goodness is His righteousness. His goodness is His very nature.
When I’m faced with any decision, I can rest in the confidence that no matter the outcome, God is good. And He’s not just good to other people, worthy people, He’s good to me. I have sometimes looked back and realized that I’ve made the wrong choice, not sinful, just not the best choice. And I don’t find a disappointed God rolling His eyes because I couldn’t see the future. I don’t find a God wringing His hands wondering if I’ll ever get it right. I find my friend, Jesus, who loves me and leads me on.
Sometimes, I’ve made a sinful choice. I’ve deliberately chosen to walk outside of His will. And what have I found there? An angry God? A taskmaster with his whip ready to send me into next Tuesday?
Not at all.
What I find is what Tim Keller calls “The Prodigal God.” He’s a father with a love that doesn’t make sense, a father who plans a party for me when I return, a father who invites me into the banquet when my sin is whitewashed unlike my conspicuous prodigal brother’s. His goodness never stops. His grace never runs out. He just keeps loving me back into His arms. Yes, I repent, because I can’t run from His goodness and mercy. They always catch me. My loving Father proves His love with discipline, but friends, even in my consequences, I have lived in the goodness of God.
Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the LORD forever.Psalm 23:6, NLT
You want to know what to look for when you’re seeking God’s will for your next steps? Look for His goodness. Look for His grace. Is there a decision that will give you an opportunity to show His goodness and grace with others? Chase it. Is there a decision to take a job that will give you more time to spend investing in others–your husband, wife, kids or neighbors? His goodness and His grace are there. Run after it.
But maybe you’ve found yourself in a place where you are choosing between sin and not-sin; if that’s the case, don’t choose the sin. Trust me; there’s nothing but extra heartache there. But if it’s too late, and you’re already there? Run home. Your Father loves you and wants you safe in His will.
Join me here again next week as I write about considering your own design when looking for God’s will for your life . And if you’re new here and wish to get this content conveniently delivered to your inbox as it goes live, just SUBSCRIBE HERE. Go in the goodness of God, friends.