The “Good” Gap: Believing in the Goodness of God

A couple weeks ago my husband and I decided to watch The Shack by William P. Young. The book was captivating and beautiful, so I couldn’t wait to see it. As my husband made popcorn, I decided check out the bonus material. It began with Young talking about how the book came to be a movie and the impact it has had. I was crying before the movie even started. And, of course, I sobbed through the whole thing.

This beautifully written book and movie profoundly illustrates our misunderstanding of God’s character. In the story, “Papa,” or God, says that many people don’t believe He is good.

I have often looked at the many lukewarm Christians in American churches and wondered, how are they not in love with Jesus Christ? To know Him is to truly adore Him. So, what is missing?

Most Christians believe there is a God who created everything and revealed Himself in scripture. They believe that God hears our prayers and occasionally performs miracles. They don’t have to be convinced of that.

While not fully understanding, they know and have heard that He loves them. The concept of love is elusive, though. It is the most overused word in the English language and therefore, has lost its meaning. However, they still know that God loves us.

We hear preaching about our guilt as human beings and the grace we have been freely given. We know that God sent his son to die for us and by the blood of Jesus we have been saved. Most of us are familiar with the idea of grace and know the gospel story well.

To some in the church, their idea of God might look like this.

God created → God loves → we were Guilty → God saved → end of story

Each one of these statements are true and important elements of God’s story. But something is missing.

Being in love with someone does not come from head knowledge alone, it also comes from the heart. What is the missing piece? What is keeping so many Christians from radically falling in love with Jesus Christ?

We may believe in Him. We may believe that He is all powerful and all knowing and created our world. But, do we believe that He is good? The gap between being a lukewarm Christian and radically following Christ exists when we don’t believe that He is good.

Knowing that God is good is everything. Most of the people I know that are radically following Christ use the phrase, “God is good.” God is ALL good in ALL things at ALL times and gives peace and hope to an otherwise hopeless world.

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. Psalm 107:1

For our faith to be radical, to be sold out Christ, we need to get to the “God is good” part.

God created → God loves → we were Guilty → God saved → GOD IS GOOD

Who is God to me?

God is loving, merciful, forgiving, and the great comforter.

I could say that He is loving and merciful, but that leaves out His great compassion.
I could say that He is kind and forgiving, but that leaves out His faithfulness.
I could say that He is strong and powerful, but that leaves out that He is perfect peace.

God is just so many things. One could say He is everything!

In other words . . . . . He is soooo good! Saying that God is good encompasses everything about His character. All the things of God fall underneath the umbrella of His “goodness.”

So, if your faith seems stale. If you can’t muster up the passion for Jesus that others seem to be able to. Focus on His goodness. Meditate on it. Pray that God would reveal His goodness to you. Everything He has for you is good. Everything He has for you is better than anything in this world.

If you’ve wondered where I’ve been over the last month and a half, why the blog has been radio silent, it’s because I’ve had my own dark path to navigate. My own cold and rough ” green mile” to traverse. However, I have been led by the promises of God’s goodness. His love and mercy illuminated my path. Hope told me that what’s on the other side is good, even better than before. And I trust in a God that has never left my side. I trust in a God that is good.

The Lord is good to all; He has compassion on all he has made. Psalm 145:9

The good He has for you may be packaged in trials. His good for you may be on a rough road or walking through the valley of the shadow of death. His good for you might be facing piles of pain that you have carried your entire life. However, the road of His goodness, regardless of how messy or dark, leads to freedom. There is nothing better in this life than freedom. And true freedom only comes through one source, Jesus Christ.

 

5 Reasons why Christians should learn apologetics

Several months ago, when my Sunday school class learned that we were going to study apologetics, there was an audible groan in the room. Most people were less than enthusiastic.

I just don’t understand it. Maybe I am a nerd, but I am excited about apologetics!

Can apologetics be boring? Sure. But so can anything else. Literature, politics, science, current events, even music or movies can be boring. Heck, this blog post is probably boring!

Often, it isn’t the subject that’s boring, it’s the delivery.

I’m not a big fan of history. However, I have watched some fascinating documentaries. And, lo and behold, I learn something! Also, historical movies that are true stories are some of my favorites. 

So, when it comes to apologetics, let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater!


Why do you believe in God? Why are you a Christian? How would you answer these questions if you were asked? Most of us would be stumped.

What if someone called you closed minded for believing that Christianity was true and all other religions were false? The exclusivity of Christianity is its greatest criticism today. How would you defend a faith that claims there is only one truth?

The majority of us would have difficulty addressing these subjects.

As followers of Christ, most of us tend to have an experiential and emotional relationship with God. We feel Him. He is in us.

However, feelings tend to be hard to articulate, and, they are less than convincing to an outsider. Answering skeptics questions based on feelings or an experience might not always be effective.


There are 5 reasons why Christians should study apologetics

1.  We are told to do so in scripture

But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence.  1 Peter 3:15

2. To defend Christianity & spread the Gospel

It is crucial for us to respond to attacks on our faith. We must be able to answer the skeptic’s questions. We must have a defense.

We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God.   2 Corinthians 10:5

The Great Commission commands us to go out and make disciples. But, what kind of witnesses will we be if we look like bumbling idiots when we are challenged?! Who would want to join a religion full of dummies?

We must explore fundamental questions.

  • What evidence is there that God exists?
  • What evidence is there that God created the universe?
  • How do you explain evolution or the big bang?
  • How can one address the problem of suffering?

Emotional and relational people may be won over by loving relationships with people they trust. However, most likely, intellectuals will need to hear arguments for the existence of God, Creation or the resurrection of Christ.

Arguments such as . . . . 

  • The Cosmological Argument
  • The Fine Tuning Argument
  • The Moral Argument
  • The Contingency Argument

And we must always remember to present arguments with gentleness and respect.

Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.   Colossians 4:5-6

3. To have a strong foundation

Between 50 & 75% of young people raised in a Christian family leave the church after they leave their home. There is an abundance of research on this topic. The numbers may vary slightly from one study to the next. But they all come to the same conclusion. We are losing our kids.

The daunting reality is that a majority of youth group graduates lose their faith when they leave home. Why? Our kids aren’t developing a personal faith in Jesus Christ. They don’t leave home with a firm foundation.

Many of them don’t know why they believe in God or Jesus Christ.

We all need to know why we believe what we believe. That is our foundation. And, kids need to know why they believe, apart from their parents.

(there may be a book coming . . . . )

4. To love God with our minds

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind  Luke 10:27

Are you using your whole heart, soul, strength and mind to love God? I ask myself this question frequently. I know that I often fall short.

Loving God with all our minds means keeping our mind sharp. It means discovering all that God has for us. It means meditating on scripture, not just reading it. It means spending time pondering the things of God.

He gave us minds so we could love Him through our intellect. After all, all knowledge comes from God.

Here are some stimulating topics that may peak your curiousity.

  • What does the Second Law of Thermodynamics have to do with the existence of God?
  • How do Einstein’s general theory of relativity, the expansion of the universe, and the red shift point to a Creator?
  • Why does the existence of God explain intentional states of consiousness in the world?
  • What are some of the fundamental constants and quantities of the universe that seem to have been carefully dialed by a Creator to an astonishingly precise value that falls within an exceedingly narrow, life permitting range? (reasonablefaith.org)

Discovery is a gift that can enrich our faith, and cause us to fall more deeply in love with Elohim, the Creator God.

5. To see more of God’s character; to know Him more

While on the treadmill in the morning, I listen to William Lane Craig’s Sunday school class called Defenders. In the first class, he said that they would be exploring the attributes of God. I thought to myself, that sounds kind of elementary!

I know that God is good, gentle, merciful, compassionate, just, powerful, full of grace, and loving. He is the Mighty God, Prince of Peace, and Wonderful Counselor. I am aware of His omniscience, omnipotence, and that He is omnipresent.

However, I had never thought about His eternity, His aseity (self existence), His foreknowledge or middle knowledge (hypothetical knowledge), fore ordination, and immutability (changelessness), to name a few. The philosophical study of God is fascinating!

Have you heard of the Euthyphro dilemma? I hadn’t until recently. It basically asks the question, ‘Is something good because God wills it? Or, does God will something because it is good?’ Crazy stuff!

There is so much to learn about our God. We could spend a lifetime and only scratch the surface of the complex and multifaceted nature of God.


So, I challenge you as I challenge myself to think about and write down answers to the following questions.

Why do you believe in God?
Why are you a Christian?
Why is your faith important in your life?
What exactly do you believe?
What evidence is there for the existence of God?
What evidence is there for the resurrection of Christ?


The following are great resources for the study of apologetics:

I Don’t Have Enough Faith To Be An Atheist, Frank Turek & Norman Geisler
Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics, William Lane Craig