When God’s “good” feels pretty bad

It’s officially fall, y’all. You will never be able to convince me that there is a better season than the months we are in right now. I could never move somewhere like Florida or Hawaii where the heat never gives way in and cooler winds blow in. Daily, I am blown away by the colors of the trees. As I drive down the road, my sentences to friends on the phone are interrupted by my awe of the brilliance and variety of the leaves in front of me. There is a strip of trees near my house, and every single tree is a vibrant, different color than the one next to it. I love it. This photo below is the tree I see when I walk outside my front door.

I love layers and fall flavors and how the sun transforms in the evening. Could I make an entire blog post about this? Yes, I could. But I won’t do that to you. I’m here to remind you of something more important than my favorite season.

These beautiful trees that transform into actual art before our eyes?

Their leaves are DYING.

In my entire lifetime, I will never stop being amazed at this dichotomy.

When the leaves look the most alive; the most glamorous, they are on their way to their end. After serving their purpose for their particular season, they fall to the ground and eventually get swept up into the garbage or decay until the snow comes to freeze them over.

I’ve learned that maybe there are themes that God has given each of us to carry throughout our life to display different pieces of His character. I can’t seem to get away from this same concept over and over. Hey, I even wrote a book about it last year. His Kingdom is backwards.

God’s Word tells us that He works for our good:

“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them.” Romans 8:28

But we have to be real. So much of what we are facing does not look good. It doesn’t feel good.

Seasons of waiting without any direction.
Feeling forgotten.
For friends of mine right now, cancer – again.
Pain, sickness, addiction, miscarriage, loneliness –

Real life stuff. None of that feels good at all.

In fact, it feels really bad. And we wonder how God can promise good for us when life just isn’t good.


Who says what is good?

Who defines what goodness looks like?

In Exodus 33, Moses asks to see God’s glory. And God responds with this in verse 19: “I will make all my goodness pass before you…

His presence is His goodness.
He is goodness.
He is good.

I have been following a worship leader on Instagram as his wife has suffered with cancer. She went to be with Jesus this week. Through their entire journey, they have called God good and faithful. The day after she passed, he posted a video through tears, reminding me what I learned five years ago that pushed me to write a book.

Our biggest fear – death – is the truest life. Real healing, real joy, the purest forms of anything good we’re looking for will never be made full as long as we’re on this earth.

God’s ways are higher and His thoughts are greater.
God has never and never will delight in our suffering. But what He sees as good is far beyond our shallow, earthly definition.

We may never had said the words out loud, but we’ve defined good as success, comfort, stability, and beauty.
What if we let the Author of the word define it for us?

Do you know the first thing that God called “good” in the Bible?

His creation.

The water, the land, the animals, and the man that he made in His image.


Is our definition of good lined up with the Creator’s?

What does this all mean?

It doesn’t mean that we ignore what’s hard. It doesn’t mean that we push through and pretend we aren’t in pain.

But let’s take a lesson from the autumn trees; maybe all that we see isn’t all that there is.

Maybe what seems the most beautiful and lovely may be fleeting and only last for a season.

The only truly thing that is good is your God Himself. So ask Him “why?“, and spare no expense when it comes to your honesty with Him. It’s the only way real relationship is built.

But don’t let your “why’s” and your “bad” trick you into believing the lie that He isn’t good.

Just like those brilliant leaves won’t last, neither will your present suffering.

Don’t lose sight of the Good – your God.

“For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them all and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.” 2 Corinthians 4:17-18

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