c. 425 AD, Mosaic, Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, Ravenna
The goodness of God can be seen throughout the Bible. For example, when God created the world and filled it with living creatures, He looked back on all that He created, and, as Genesis 1:31 says,
God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good.
But God didn’t just create a good world and leave it to govern and order itself. God has good intentions for the world, including humankind. For example, Jeremiah 29:11 says that God intends good for Israel:
“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” (NLT)
But God’s goodness is not limited to Israel. God invites everyone to receive His goodness in their lives. The question isn’t if God is good, but how can I receive God’s goodness in my life? Psalm 34:8 gives us the answer:
Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good;
Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!
In order to see God’s goodness in my life, I have to taste and see—I have to trust in Him. It is only by trusting in God that I can begin to understand how His goodness shows up in my life.
Trusting God means recognizing His sovereign rule over all creation and our humble position within God’s created order. Many people think that God is required to give the same blessings to everyone everywhere all the time. But this kind of thinking comes from a prideful entitlement mentality so common in the world today. Our very existence—the breath in our lungs, the blood in our veins, the thoughts in our minds and the intents of our hearts are all blessings from God. Every aspect of our lives is an undeserved gift from God. And as the ultimate gift-giver who owes us nothing, the ways and degrees by which He shares His goodness varies from person to person, according to His purposes.
It is also important to understand that, especially concerning spiritual matters, God does not force His blessings on those who truly do not desire them. The invitation to believe requires exercising the free gift of informed choice about the sin in our hearts and our eternal destiny with or apart from His loving presence.
God has made it very clear that He has created two different spiritual destinies. One, created for people, is residing with Him for eternity. The other, created for the devil and his spiritual cohorts, is a place of eternal torment called hell. God never desires for anyone to go to hell. But when we truly don’t desire eternity with God and willfully reject His invitation to receive eternal life, God grants us our desire for an eternity apart from His loving presence by giving us the only other alternative, hell.
But this is also one of the reasons why receiving God’s invitation requires trusting in Jesus. In the trusting we acknowledge His existence with our minds and voluntarily submit our hearts to the truth that God is wholly good and has good intentions for His creation and our lives.