Lizard on a rock on a hiking trail at Glen Eyrie, Colorado Springs, CO

When everything changes, God is good

I know good people. They’re the kind of people I can trust will always do what’s right, even when it’s difficult. Those are good people to know, to surround yourself with, because they keep you honest and they usually experience good things as a result of their wise choices. Granted, they aren’t perfect. Nobody down here is, but there’s something about people who always do the right thing that is attractive and terrifying. You want to be friends with them, but you’re afraid of them at the same time because if someone always does what’s right, how do they feel about someone who usually ends up doing what’s wrong?

Most of the time those good people don’t even consider themselves good, and the ones I know certainly don’t. They’re just trying to follow Christ as best they can. And that’s one of the amazing truths about God is that He truly is good. There’s no one better. And because He is truly good, everything He does is right.

Lizard on a rock on a hiking trail at Glen Eyrie, Colorado Springs, CO

Lizard on a rock on a hiking trail at Glen Eyrie, Colorado Springs, CO

Today’s verse is Deuteronomy 32:4.

He is the Rock; his deeds are perfect.
    Everything he does is just and fair.
He is a faithful God who does no wrong;
    how just and upright he is!

There’s no second guessing with God. If He does something, it’s good. The Bible says that over and over and over again. So where does all the hurt and brokenness in our world from? Well, God didn’t create the world like this; He created it perfect, and we’re the ones who broke it. He’s doing the best He can with a world that refuses to listen to Him. If He wanted a world full of robots to do His bidding, He could have “fixed” our world long ago, but that’s not who He is. And those people who get angry at Him for allowing atrocities in our world would chafe against a solution like that anyway.

I don’t claim to understand everything. I don’t claim to understand God. Nobody can do that. But I would like to think I know His heart. I know what the Bible says about Him, and I believe the Bible. So when the Bible says He’s good, that means He is. The world isn’t good. I’m not good. People aren’t good. But God is. And He is working to make things good again for the people who follow Him.

Does that mean that everything that happens is good? No. But we’ve got to remember that the world is currently under different management than it was originally intended. God created it and gave it to us to take care of, but our first parents forfeited that right when they disobeyed, and Satan took over. Yes, God is ultimately in control, but right now Earth is under the governorship of Satan. We gave Him that right, but one day God will take it back. One day God will make everything right again. And until then, we have to trust Him.

So how does that help us today? Today we face a world that is more uncertain than ever. Personally, I live in a country that no longer recognizes itself. Like a rebelling teenager, the United States has pushed away from everything that is good and is striving to do wrong because we can. The rest of the world is already there, but the U.S. is running to catch up and the consequences are going to be disastrous. The whole world is running itself into the ground. I have to laugh about doomsday clocks and the Mayan calendar and all the other threats that say the world is going to end because the world is going to end, but not with ice or fire. The world is going to collapse on itself, rotted from the inside, trying to support a facade of self-righteousness that’s too heavy for something without a spine.

The world is changing by the hour, and most of those changes are bad. Or they will bring bad things, even to people who trying to live right. But because I know that God is good, I trust that He does good things and that He can take even the ugliest situation and make it beautiful.

So when everything goes wrong today, remember that God is good. We may not understand what’s happening or why, but if you’re a follower of Christ, nothing can happen to you that God can’t use for good.

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Half moon above the apricots

Everything changes

Change is inevitable. It’s part of life. Nothing stays the same. Seasons pass. People age. People die. People are born. Jobs go away. Jobs get harder. Taxes increase. New government official are elected and enact changes in policies. Kids you knew when they were toddlers grow up and get married.

There’s a line in an old country song by Tracy Lawrence called “Time Marches On” that says: “The only thing that stays the same is everything changes.” And that’s very true.

So since change is inevitable, why do we get so attached to the way life is today? Is that just the way we are? Change bothers some people more than others, but I think all change is difficult at some level, even if you like change. I don’t. I hate change, but at the same time I appreciate it. Because it’s necessary. Imagine what life would like if nothing ever changed.

Half moon above the apricots

Half moon above the apricots - Safe Haven Farm, Haven, KS

Today’s verse is John 14:27.

I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.

This is a statement that Christ said to the disciples shortly before His death. He was trying to comfort them, explaining that He wouldn’t always be with them, but that Someone else was coming to walk beside them through life.

From what I know of Scripture, the disciples didn’t like change either. At least, they didn’t like change they couldn’t control. That’s where I am. I’m such a control freak that I accept the change I initiate. When it’s change that I start, I don’t have a problem with it because I can wrap my arms around it and I can comprehend what needs to be done and I can often see the light at the end of the tunnel because I control how fast I’m moving.

But when it’s change someone else affects in my life? Yeah, that doesn’t go over so well.

One of the many things I love about Jesus is that He understands that. He knows that I have a desperate need to control the situations in my life, but He also knows that if I actually had that power, I wouldn’t do a very good job of managing. And He loves me enough to take that responsibility away.

Part of being in control is that you have to know everything. You have to know every possible outcome, and you have to know everything that could possibly go wrong. If I wanted to control my life and manage my circumstances effectively, I would have to know everything, not just about myself but about the people around me. And I am not capable of that. That is beyond my ability. It’s beyond anyone’s ability, and to declare otherwise is like telling God that you know better.

The disciples freaked out about Jesus leaving. I mean, He had been walking with them in their lives for three years. Their closest friend. Their mentor. Their brother. And they believed He was who He said He was for the most part, and at the news that He was leaving them, they despaired.

It’s so easy to get upset when things don’t go your way. It’s so easy to sit and pout and cry when life doesn’t turn out the way we think it will. It’s easy to get frustrated with God because He makes you wait before He’ll give you an answer. And the longer you have to wait, the easier it gets to be discouraged.

And God knows that. He created us. So He knows how we think. That’s where this verse comes in. Because Jesus didn’t leave the disciples without hope. God hasn’t abandoned us. Even when He isn’t speaking or moving in a way we can see, that doesn’t mean He isn’t working. God gave us Himself. If you believe in Jesus, you have the Holy Spirit within you, a direct line to God Himself. We can go to God any time and tell Him what we’re struggling with, and He won’t turn us away in disgust or impatience or disappointment.

But He does want us to trust Him. And it’s hard to trust someone you aren’t talking to.

The New Living Translation says, “Don’t be troubled or afraid.” But in the Amplified Version, that same statement means this:

Stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed; and do not permit yourselves to be fearful and intimidated and cowardly and unsettled.

God has given us peace. It’s a different kind of peace that the world offers. The world tells us to cling to financial gain and economic stability and political morality, but all of that changes. None of that is solid. God’s peace comes through Christ. God’s peace comes through believing that God knows what He’s doing even if it doesn’t feel like it. Feeling upset or unhappy or scared is a choice.

We can choose to be at peace in the midst of inevitable change because the one thing that matters never changes: God knows what He’s doing, He never makes mistakes, and He always keeps His promises.