It’s Good Friday. For some, it may seem an oxymoron. This day did not seem too “good” to those participating in the original day. To others, we skip past friday because we know Sunday’s comin’ and it falls flat for those in a very Friday kinda place. For those who are in the very midst of stormy lives, the Pollyanna types just don’t seem to have a good grip on reality. I think part of what we’re seeing in the culture around us is the result of generations of people who just want to skip past Friday. Generations of those who recount the silver linings in some very dark clouds or who avoid talking about the clouds all together. We keep telling people “God is good. All the time.” It’s true. So very true. But it can ring so very false and bitter.
But maybe it’s because we have redefined the word. Maybe we have this notion of “good” to mean something a lot less than those four letters contain. Good is more than just leading us to happiness, or perfection, or the removal of sorrow and pain. Maybe good has been watered down, like having a good day which is really just a day when we haven’t been in our pajamas the entire time or didn’t raise our voices much above normal volumes. Maybe we’ve set the bar pretty low for “good” which makes us unsatisfied when something is labelled good and really isn’t.
He is always good.
How do you say that to someone who has just suffered a tragic loss? How do you speak those words to someone who loses a child, a spouse? What do you mean when you say it to someone who has been abused or raped and afraid? How can we come to terms with these words when you’re in the doctor’s office and the prognosis is beyond what you can handle? I mean, at least we don’t say God doesn’t give us more than we can handle. Don’t say that. Because it simply isn’t true.
But is “God is always good” always true? Can we say it even now? On this day when we remember the darkest hour of the darkest day? We see Jesus, beyond recognition from the torture and suffering he received, hanging, suffering, in excruciating pain – was it more than he could bear? How about the complete silence and eventual absence of His Good Father? Was that bearable?
*I* am not good. Not always for sure. I lose my patience. I think less of others. I get lazy. I am prideful. Then I get ashamed. The cycle. I think too often and too much of myself. I ask God too often and too much “Where are You?”
He is. He was. He will be. Always Good.
Redefine it. This is what our lives are all about – the redefining of good. From the garden when all was pronounced good. To the garden of the night that Jesus prayed for the ultimate good. To all of human history, groaning and aching for a return to good. To the darkest hour of the darkest day, when redemption was made to begin to bring us back to good. A fuller, deeper, more beautiful good than we could ever come up with on our own.
And we just don’t believe it, do we? I don’t. I can admit it. I see something and immediately categorize as good or bad. It’s what we do. It’s human. What I need to do is to categorize God as good and leave him there. To see everything through that category. It has to be that way. This must either BE or point to or end up as good. It must. This moment, at the foot of the cross – looking up at a man we spent years with, watching his ministry, hearing his teachings, experiencing his signs and wonders – must be about something more. It does NOT look good. It does not feel good. It is horrific and everything opposite of good. This moment isn’t good. But God is good. And He has declared, “It is finished.” You don’t get too much good-er than that.