“But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?” (ESV – Read the chapter)
One of the things I have told my congregations many times over the years is that we have to get God’s character right. If we don’t get the character of God right, much of the rest of our lives will be incredibly more difficult than they would otherwise be.
Think about why. If we imagine God to be angry and impatient, we will live our lives with a burden of guilt in everything we do. Perhaps we had a father who was angry and impatient (I am grateful to have not had that). We begin to associate the behavior of our father with fatherhood more generally, and when we hear God described as a father, we make the same assumptions about Him.
If this is the case, we will pursue the things we do in an effort to make God happy. Or else, as many children do with their angry and impatient earthly fathers, we will rebel against this god who does not actually exist, and pursue a sinful lifestyle just to spite him. We are the ones who lose in this effort.
Or perhaps we imagine that God is selfish and stingy. We will live our lives then with an attitude of scarcity, holding tightly to what we have and constantly striving jealously to get more. We will look at everything through a lens of not enough and worry all the time that we are going to see ends not be met.
Here’s another that is perhaps most important of all: Do you believe that God is good? Do you trust Him to have your best interests at heart in all things? Or, do you really believe deep down that you are the only one on whom you can truly lean? God may be there, but His chief concern is not for you. You are simply a cog in a much larger wheel. Which one you believe in the depths of your soul will have a profound impact on your life.
The fact is, the Scriptures are pretty clear about proclaiming the goodness of God. Consider Jesus’ words here. This is in His famous call to not worry, but it is set firmly in the context of God’s goodness. Do you see how?
Think about the world around us. Nature works. It works the same way every time over and over again. Not only that, but it works to the good of the flora and fauna in it. Now, yes, there are times when things don’t go well as we would define them, but Paul answers this issue when he notes that creation groans with longing for our redemption so that it can be redeemed from the effects of sin as well. But for the vast majority of the times, nature works. Animals have enough to eat. Plants have enough sun and water to grow. There is beauty everywhere.
Yet it is all short-lived. While there are a few animals with life spans that rival our own, most of them do not. The flowers of the field in particular can grow in a day and be gone the next. Yet, God cares enough to take the time to let them grow. He makes them beautiful. Sometimes they are beautiful for no reason but that they are beautiful.
Think now, because Jesus Himself calls us to do so: If God is so concerned with the flowers of the field, if His goodness is such that He pours out care on something so temporary, how much more is He going to care for us who are the crown jewel of creation?
If we know and serve and worship this God who is supremely good, we can rest easy in His goodness rather than having to constantly reach and strive for whatever we can get because who knows if we’ll have enough or have another chance to get it in the future.
What we believe about God matters. Getting His character right is essential to getting life right. If you are struggling with the character of God, spend some time in the Scriptures so that you can have the proper image affirmed in your mind. Don’t read just for bits and pieces, and don’t take things out of context. Get the whole picture. What you will find over and over is a picture of a God who is good all the time. And when this idea is planted firmly in your heart and mind, you will be able to rest more comfortably in His goodness.