Remembering God Is Good When Life Is Bad
I have a confession to make. When I got serious about my relationship with God and really started living my life for Him, I thought life was going to be a breeze. I literally envisioned Jesus and I running hand in hand in a field filled with wildflowers. And then the struggles of life persisted and it felt like I was left in the field to wander alone.
We tend to correlate our level of struggle to God’s level of love. When life is good, God must love us so much and be so happy with us. But when life gets bad we feel unloved by God and assume He must be displeased with us. Here’s the truth- our circumstances are not the measuring stick of God’s love. Here’s another truth- God doesn’t stop being good because life gets bad.
We must learn not to agree with the lie of the enemy that tells us our God isn’t good and our lives are bad. We must learn to combat the lies of Satan with the truth of who God really is and how He has truly designed life to be. There are things we can do when we find ourselves in tough places to refresh our memories about God’s goodness.
Understand God Is Not The Cause
When life starts to get hard I can’t be the only one who sometimes thinks thoughts such as, “God, why are you doing this to me?” “God, why are you punishing me?” “God, why are you making me go through this?”
I once heard Nancy Alcorn say the following at a women’s conference at my church, “God is not the author of our pain.” Do you know why that phrase has so much power? Because it means God doesn’t cause bad things to happen to us. It means God is not out here playing tit for tat. It means that what is found in Jeremiah 29:11 is true, that His intentions are not to harm us but to give us a hope and a future. God does not cause our pain, but there are things He will allow to help us grow and to make us a light for other people who are watching our example. So rather than taking our struggles personally we should remember James 1:2-4 (ESV) “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
Walk Down Memory Lane
One of the best exercises for reminding yourself of God’s goodness is to look at how good He’s been to you in the past. It is so easy for us to forget just how much God has brought us through when we are in the midst of our current struggles. But when we take time to reflect, we are able to see just how far God’s grace has brought us and how truly blessed we are.
Something I’ve started doing is keeping a journal where I track all my prayer requests. As those requests get answered I go back and write how and when God answered them. It’s the perfect way to keep a written record of how God has moved in your life. Whenever I am feeling particularly down about life’s current circumstances, I look back through that journal and am reminded of who God is. I am reminded of how faithful God has been to me. I’m reminded of how much God loves me. And I am reminded of what the Bible says in Hebrews 13:8 (ESV), “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” This means the same good God who delivered me and blessed me then, can and will do so for me now.
There is something about selflessly giving to people who cannot give back to you that helps you realize how privileged you are. It means taking the focus off of yourself and your circumstances, and focusing on caring for someone else.
At my church, I serve as a teacher in the children’s ministry on a weekly basis. Those children from infants to 5 years old are not in a position to offer me anything, but each week I see how blessed I am to be entrusted by my church leaders and these parents to pour into their kids’ hearts, minds, and souls. There are times I go into serve with a down spirit and a heavy heart, but by the time service has ended my heart is overjoyed and I am encouraged. To see them learning and enjoying themselves helps me to see God from a different angle, and I grow to recognize His goodness in a new way.
One of the easiest and quickest ways to remind yourself of God’s goodness is to write out a list of the things you’re grateful for. As bad as things might currently be in your life, they could in fact be a lot worse. That’s not to negate the reality of your circumstances as much as it’s about taking your eyes off the negative and putting them on the positive.
At the end of each day I spend five minutes writing down three things I am grateful for. No matter how bad my day has been. Thinking about the joy my son brings me, or the privilege it is that my passion is also my job, helps take the focus off of what’s wrong in my life and put it on what’s right in life. It becomes virtually impossible not to acknowledge God’s goodness when you’re looking at it written down right in front of you.
Unfortunately, many of us allow our circumstances to dictate how we see our God, instead of allowing our God to dictate how we see our circumstances. In reality, bad circumstances offer the perfect opportunity for God to demonstrate his love and power in amazing ways. I encourage you to reject your urge to curse God and wallow in bitterness the next time you struggle and instead follow Job’s example. Choose to trust God and continue seeing Him through eyes of love and kindness despite your inability to understand the season He may be allowing you to go through. Then stand on the ultimate knowledge that in the end you win.
Staff Writer at Christian En Vogue
Diamond Grant is passionate follower of Christ with a deep love for writing. After rededicating her life to Christ during her college years, Diamond became an advocate for women pursuing mental, emotional, and physical health/wellness. When she is not busy being a homeschooling mama to her son or mentoring women on the road to healing, you can find her with a stack of books and a journal nearby ready to take notes.