The pastor says, ‘God is good.’ And the congregation replies, ‘All the time.’

The pastor repeats, “All the time.’ To which the congregation affirms, ‘God is good.’

Surely God is good . . .

Messages declaring God intends for believers to be healthy, wealthy and wise are preached in congregations across the world.

If you have enough faith, you will be healed.

If you give enough, God will give you wealth in abundance.

If you trust God, your life will be beautiful and full of good things.

And yet . . .

{Warning: if you don’t want to think about unpleasant realities in our world, you may not want to read any further.}

Believers are tortured, murdered and imprisoned. Families torn apart, women raped, lives ruined because of faith in Jesus Christ.

Horrific tragedies, mass shootings, bizarre accidents cause death way too early for way too many.

Mothers hold children dying from disease or starvation, without any resources to help them. 21,000 children die every day from preventable causes.

A pornography ring was brought down recently in my state, and many were arrested . . . for things done to babies and infants.

Little girls are sold as sex slaves (a twenty-something admitted to being forced into prostitution by her mother as a young teenager – in my city.)

Children are stolen, brain-washed and made into killing-machines called ‘soldiers’.

Floods, fires, weather events are causing unprecedented loss across our country and so many others.

In light of these and other atrocities happening daily around our planet, how can we continue to proclaim that God is good? What do we have to offer that gives hope? Where is God?

For years I wrestled with these same questions. And though I’ll never have all the answers, I do know that I have landed in the arms of our God who is good, who does care, and who deeply loves each of us. Our God feels and enters into the pain and suffering of our world.

When interviewed about his book, What Good is God?: In Search of a Faith That Matters, Phillip Yancey offered his belief that we will not find answers to our why questions in the Scriptures. Rather, he says we are given a face, the face of Jesus showing us how God responds to sufferers. Jesus never lectured, never gave philosophical arguments or empty platitudes. Jesus never blamed or punished the sufferer.

Rather, our Savior responded to hurting people around Him with compassion. Jesus walked into the suffering of others. Jesus healed many. Jesus restored and redeemed lives. Jesus lived in the presence of God the Father.

Jesus wept over Jerusalem and those who would not hear or believe in Him. Jesus wept over the death of His friend Lazarus and the grief of that family. Jesus offered a thief on the cross next to Him the opportunity to spend eternity with Him.

For our God is a God of compassion and mercy – 2 Corinthians 1:2.

A God of love – I John 4:16, Romans 8:38-39.

A God who abides in us – John 14:23, I John 3:24

A God who is with us, and will be with us on all our days – Matthew 28:20, Deuteronomy 31:8

A God who will one day restore, refresh, renew all those things life has stolen – Revelation 21:4-5

A God who is fully present with us who believe. A God who carries us when we are weak and strengthens us for whatever lies ahead. A God who walks alongside us in the deepest of life’s agonies, on all our days.

And because of our testimony of God’s presence with us in our difficult times, God will use us in ways we cannot begin to imagine as He ministers unto others through us.

Our God is a good and gracious and loving God . . . all the time.