Part 1: Goodness and Love (Psalm 106:1)
“Praise the LORD. Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; His love endures forever.”
Two attributes of God are relevant to every aspect of our lives: that He is good, and that He is loving. His goodness is bent on making the form and function of His creatures whole, while His love impels Him to give of Himself to benefit those creatures.
God’s goodness means that He is poised, positioned and disposed to bring wholeness toward every person here on planet earth. He made us not only for His own good pleasure (neither masochistic nor neglectful), but also for our pleasure; He wants our lives to bring joy to both ourselves and Himself – not egocentric, self-gratifying amusement, but deep, wholesome forever-enduring pleasure. He will do everything divinely possible to bring us out of this present dominion of self-destruction into the kingdom of renewal and re-creation. God’s goodness empowers people who are willing to become new from the inside out. Our awareness and appreciation of God’s goodness will lead us to praise Him in worship of His being, and to thank Him for the transforming experiences we face in this life. This mindset, where people praise and thank God for His goodness, is a mindset of spiritual health, wellness and wholeness. All else is cheap and disappointing imitation.
God’s forever-enduring love intentionally leads us toward something called the ‘kingdom of heaven’. His love guides us to the gate between here and there, between the tangible and the intangible, the seen and the unseen. His love carries us across the lintel, over the doorstep and into an eternal, limitless expanse where love is the rule of order – not selfish, grasping love, but life-giving, spirit-growing love. We begin to be touched by this love when we allow His Spirit to help us grasp “how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that (we) may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God (Ephesians 3:18,19).
There is a catch. In order to be recipients of God’s goodness and love we must humble ourselves before Him – the most difficult endeavor our free-willing selves will ever undertake. We are told we must kneel before the Father, accept strength from His Spirit, and have faith in Jesus the Son. That is a tall order. Those actions describe submission to One by whom we are willing to be mastered, and then praise and thank Him for every event He allows in our lives.
We all know how some events feel like anything but expressions of God’s goodness and love. That is where faith comes in. Like submitting ourselves to a trying therapy we know will bring us eventual healing, we must trust God’s goodness and love. This is the only way to wholeness. In the quietness of our inner soul, we must rest in the firm belief that God is equal to the task of ultimately proving His faithfulness to be both loving and good.
O good and ever-loving Father; help me see that your goodness to me is not about ease or selfish gain, but about full and complete wholeness as You designed me to be. I accept Your goodness, regardless of how it feels to me today. Satisfy my craving for Your love, so wide and long and high and deep it is beyond comprehending. That You, Jesus my Redeemer, should pay my moral debt, I am eternally thankful. And that this love goes on into eternity’s future leaves me breathless and wondering. To be so loved is beyond my greatest hope and wildest dream. Thank You.