When each day brings with it new stories of violence, atrocities, and horrors, it’s getting harder to find the good in the world. I often find myself crying out, “Why God? Why did you allow this to happen?” During the time of James, the scattered Jewish Christians shared these same feelings. Tired of the injustice, poverty, and corruption of Rome, they were angry at God for the evil of the world.
But through our discouragement, James wants us to know that God is the Author of goodness through whom all good things flow. “Whatever is good is from God; whatever is evil is from man himself. As from the sun, which is the father or fountain of light, all light comes; so from God, who is the infinite Fountain, Father, and Source of good, all good comes.” (studylight.org) So how can we experience the goodness of God no matter the circumstance? By staying focused on, and appreciating all of the awesome attributes He possesses.
Faithful-“Great is Your faithfulness. ‘The LORD is my portion’, says my soul, ‘Therefore I have hope in Him.” (Lam. 3:23, 24) Even with the destruction of Israel all around him, Jeremiah held fast to the loyalty of God. When we place our hope in the Lord, no matter the griefs of the world we can stay focused on the goodness of His faithfulness.
Omnipotent-“Ah, Lord GOD! It is you who have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for you.” (Jer. 32:17) We serve God Almighty whose supremacy knows no bounds, and who has no equal. When we trust in His ability to work far beyond what we could ever ask or imagine, no matter the darkness of the world we can stay focused on the goodness of His power.
Compassionate–“The Lord is good to all, and his compassion is over all that he has made.” (Ps. 145:9) As our Father in heaven, God gives to us His children, unending love and mercy. He is our Comforter and our Counselor. When we rest in His grace and tenderness, no matter the afflictions of the world we can stay focused on the goodness of His compassion.
Unchanging-“God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?” (Num. 23:19) The God of today is the same God of yesterday, and as before the foundation of the earth. His Word is true, His promises everlasting. When we place our certainty in His eternal nature, no matter the temperament of the world, we can stay focused on the goodness of His steadfastness.
Sovereign-“Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all.” (1 Chr. 29:11) God is the Alpha and Omega; the Beginning and the End of all things. And as such nothing is above His authority, nor happens without His approval. When we stand humbly in His presence, no matter the evil schemes of the world, we can stay focused on the goodness of His dominance. By keeping our focus on Him, we can experience God’s goodness while living in a world filled with everything but.