“God is so good!”
It’s a hashtag. It’s a saying. It’s a Christian cliché.
It’s true. It’s bankable. It’s Biblical.
But it took on new meaning when I heard someone say it with honest sincerity who had lost their house, health, and more than a few friends. Their situation was rotten from nearly any perspective and yet they smiled, hugged people, and would say, “God is so good”.
It was hard to say whether they genuinely felt this way or were speaking by faith, but it warmed the heart of many people who heard it—including me.
This must have been how the Christians in Philippi read Paul’s words in Philippians 1:18b-19:
18b Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, 19 for I know that through your prayers and God’s provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance.
When going through a book like Philippians in a blog, it’s easy to forget the situation he’s in. Paul was staring down his own trial. This trial could result in his execution. It would be one more trial in the long list of complications Paul faced as he faithfully followed the Lord Jesus Christ.
Regardless of the circumstances facing him, Paul is determined to rejoice. When faced with the options of fear or faith, Paul chose faith. When everything around Paul screamed “stress!!” Paul chose rest. When life kept getting darker, Paul looked to the Light. His joy was not dependent on his pardon by the Roman officials, but dependent on His pardon from sin into the eternal life of Jesus.
And part of Paul’s confidence was found in the prayers of the Philippian church. Ultimately, we know it was the joy of the Lord given to Paul that empowered him, but the Lord who controls the ends also controls the means. The intercessory prayer of these dear Christians also accomplished the salvation Jesus was working in him.
Can we say the same? Do we look to criticism, suffering, trouble, and pain as God’s way of working out our salvation in us? Truthfully, that answer might be “no”.
Yet, it doesn’t have to be this way for us. We can cultivate the same “joy no matter what” spirit Paul had. Why? Because the same power raising Christ from the dead lived in Paul and lives in us!
I offer two suggestions (and I say these a lot):
- Pray in the past tense. Faith is not praying for rain; faith is playing in the puddles of God’s deliverance before He’s even sent the rain. Praying in the past tense helps us focus on the joy offered to us instead of the obstacle in front of us.
- Enlist the prayers of others. We don’t often like to ask for help but in our spiritual journeys, this is to our own detriment. When the pain is too great to bear, ask for prayer from those who pray! Paul didn’t do this alone. Not only did he have the Holy Spirit, he KNEW the Philippians were praying with him.
When the loss is greater than the win…
When the pain is greater than the healing…
When the suffering is greater than the solution…
When the turmoil is greater than the rest…
Rejoice because God is working something in you greater than you would ever have on your own.
Rejoice because God will never leave you.
Rejoice because it will turn out for your deliverance.
Rejoice because “God is so good!”