Have you ever said or done something that you wish you could take back? One afternoon, I called a lady whose son was a friend of one of my boys. I wanted to invite her to an event, but she didn't answer, so I chose to leave a message. When the message notification beeped, I started speaking, and saying the craziest stuff! I don't remember exactly what I said, but part of it was that God wanted me to tell her that she was that He loved her, she was precious to Him, and that I was available to talk if she needed someone. I hung up the phone and thought, "this lady is going to think I am the biggest fruitcake in the neighborhood! What on earth was I thinking? Now I have blown it, and she will avoid me like the plague the next time I see her at the school."
Not good! Right? Let's take a look at the meaning of "good."
Then God said, "Let there be light"; and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. So the evening and the morning were the first day. Genesis 1:3-5 NKJV
My precious friend and Bible study teacher often reminds me that if you want to know the meaning of a word in Scripture, go to the first time it is used. If we want to know the definition of "good," we start with Genesis 1. In Hebrew is the word "good" is tov, טוב which not only means something pleasant, but more specifically means "in harmony with someone or something." Therefore, the light separating from the darkness creating day and night was in harmony with God's plan for creation. Having a night and a day made way for the next good thing... the sun, moon and stars which were in harmony with the day and night, and so on. Then God made man and "saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day." (Genesis 1:31 NKJV)
Another familiar verse that speaks of the attribute good is found in Romans 8:28: And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. (KNJV)
Many quote this verse as a reminder that the LORD will take something unpleasant and work it out for their benefit. So...if God will work out everything for our good, how do we explain good results of hate crimes, destruction from acts of nature working to the victim's benefit?
The word tov, or in this case Paul's native language of Aramaic tova, is actually saying that for those who love the LORD, everything in our life is working in harmony with God's plans, "according to His purposes" and for His ultimate glory! It may mean good for us, but the greater purpose of the circumstance is for Elohim to be glorified! We may see the benefit to an undesired situation, for example personal struggles may bring more courage or grow our faith. Other times, like many of the disciples who suffered for their obedience to Christ, we may never experience positive benefits from our struggles. In these circumstances, our responsibility is to simply keep walking through the life we are given in faith and obedience to Eloheinu, our God, trusting He is working everything together according to His plans, purposes and praise.
As Paul Harvey would have said, "Here's the rest of the story..."
The lady whose message I rambled on called me back the next day. She could not believe the message that I had left. (Neither could I!) The reason she could not take my call the previous day was because she was at a doctor's appointment and had received dreadful diagnosis. She began to share how upset she had been, wondering why God would allow this to happen to her, wondering if He was punishing her for past sins? Her husband had tried to console her, but she felt as if the LORD had abandoned her, then she listened to my voice mail... My "rambling message" had been received, not as one from the village idiot, but as a personal message of encouragement from her Abba Father. Since there was no reason for me to leave such a message, this precious lady of faith recognized that the LORD had used my voice to speak His love audibly to her cry for answers. His affection spoken just when she needed to hear from Him the most! The LORD healed this precious lady and demonstrated His omnipotence and devotion through her situation. God is good! All the time!
Please hear me, O Lord, for Your lovingkindness is good; Turn to me according to the multitude of Your tender mercies. (Psalm 69:16 NKJV) Athough I may not understand the crazy, horrible, and painful events that occur in our life. I know it is good for me to draw near to You, my God; to put my trust in the Lord God, and declare all Your works. (Psalm 73:28 NKJV) For You, Lord God, are sun and shield; no good thing will You withhold from those who walk uprightly. (Psalm 84:11 NKJV). Please satisfy us with good things, and renew us like the eagle. (Psalm 103:5 NKJV) When trouble comes, I will wait on You, O Lord, for You will give me courage and strengthen my heart. (Psalm 27:14 NKJV) The Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures to all generations. (Psalm 100:5 NKJV) Amen.