Luke 15:17-20 (NIV)
“When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ So he got up and went to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.”
I was listening to the popular worship song, “Good Father” on my way to work the other day and the Holy Spirit began moving in my heart with each word. God is good. I absolutely believe that statement to be true. With every fiber of my being, I am totally convinced that God is always good and never intends harm for me or my family. I did not always know and understand this even as a longtime believer in God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. I still just couldn’t wrap my head around an all-powerful God who would still allow sickness, disease and tragedy to occur in life. When bad, terrible or horrible things happened to good people, I would spend time contemplating the contradiction of such pronounced goodness in the midst of prevailing evil. It would take a personal tragedy turned to triumph to come to the realization that God is always good. Yet, it was not discovered in our son’s healing but the probability of his death. Faced with plummeting odds of survival, I had to face the validity of my faith in the Lord and His Being head on and face first. No longer could I dally with religion, feign obedience and profess an unreceived word. I had to thoroughly investigate my beliefs and the contents of my heart. At the end of myself, I finally determined that God is a Good Father. He is always good. He is intentions are good. He will always be good even when I am not.
“You’re a good, good Father. It’s who You are, it’s who You are. And I’m loved by You. It’s who I am, it’s who I am, it’s who I am.” Though it is a popular song, I wonder if we are singing along because it is a catchy tune or do we really, really believe that God is a Good Father. There are two declarations in this verse. First, the belief that God is a Good Father which most people believe or at least try to distinguish as true. Secondly, is the belief that we are loved by this Good and Great God as His Beloved Child. We must grab hold of both to live a changed and transformed life.
The prodigal son immediately came to my mind for obvious reasons. I think his situation is a relevant account of mankind’s struggle to accept God in all His Goodness. He is a Good Father. The prodigal son had a good father. When the boy came to his father demanding his inheritance prematurely to set his own course in the world. The father granted him his desire and off he went leaving the comfort and stability of his family home. The son made his own way into the pit to feast with the pigs although it was not where he belonged. In the midst of his mess, the father still maintained his household and cared for all those who dwelled there. It was when he finally “came to his senses” that he remembered his good father and returned home.
The lost son left his home. He took responsibility for his own life. He squandered his future. He ended up on his knees. He came home. He was greeted by the good father. The good father was still good even when we lose sight of who we are. Leave home (His Presence). Take responsibility for our life (leave His Way). Squander our future (doing what we want instead of His Will). We end up on our knees and He greets us with His Love, Grace, Mercy and Goodness time and time again. He really is a Good Father. What we must come to realize that His Goodness is not dependent on what we do, where we go or how far we may fall. His Goodness remains true and intact awaiting our return.
Genesis 1:31 (NIV)
God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.S
Everything God created is good. Everything. “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” (Ecclesiastes 3:11) God has set eternity in our heart which is what draws us back to Him. He also promises to make everything beautiful in its time. Why? How? God created everything so it has been purposed to become something beautiful in its own time as we make our way back home (to eternity). “For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.” We have the potential of receiving all of God’s Goodness by simply receiving it with thanksgiving, consecrating it by the Word of God and prayer. When we return to the Father, we will never be welcomed by anything other than His Goodness and Grace. Always and forever because He is a Good Father who does not lie or change His Mind. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. It is up to us to become His Children.
Romans 8:28-29 (NIV)
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.
Every afternoon around three o’clock, I get a text from my fifteen year old. It says simply – “What’s for dinner?” Every day. Seldom without fail. I generally cook dinner every night. Around 5:30 PM, the family stirs knowing that a meal will be provided. My daughter never asks, begs or pleads for dinner because she knows I will provide it. She may call me if I am running late. Or try to help me get it on the table a little faster but not once has she continually bugged me as to if I would prepare her evening meal. Oh, you know where this is going. She knows that I love her and that I will be sure that her needs are met. She lives confident that her parents are caring for her so she does not question our care.
What if we began to believe that God really is a Good Father? What if we began to take Him at His Word? What if we decided to wait on His Promises? What if we trusted Him as we do other people in our life? I would know, believe and live by the Truth that “in ALL THINGS God works for the good of those who love Him”. Period. End of statement. Moving on. We pray for things already promised. We want our way never considering God’s Way. We demand our Father to be less than good or perfect concerning us in our quest for immediate gratification and self-satisfaction. We are called according to His Purpose. When we live in His Presence pursuing His Purpose, the goodness in our life is overflowing because He is that kind of dad.
Romans 12:2 (NIV)
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
When I read the word “conform” in Romans 8:29, I remembered Romans 12:2. Do not conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed. Conformity is to conform or act in accord with the prevailing standards, attitudes and practices of this world. Transformation is to be shaped into who God purposed us to be which is in Romans 8:29. “For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.” When we decided to allow God to transform us through His Son, Jesus and by the Power of the Holy Spirit to become like Jesus, we become Children of the Living God who is a Good Father. His Goodness becomes our way of life. Too many times we conform to the standard set out by the world, society or even the modern day church rather than seeking the Presence and Power of God that changes us from the inside out to be His Beloved Children. We play the part but have not assumed the role. So God doesn’t seem that good to us because we have not experience the transforming power of freedom from sin and the fullness of His Great Love for us.
Conformity to the world makes us who everyone else thinks we should be. Transformation by the Love of God allows us to become who we are created to be – Children of God who live in His Love and Goodness every single day from now to eternity.
Philippians 2:12-16 (NIV)
Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain.
Faith allows us to continually be transformed by the Love of God. There will be days like the lost son that we may somehow wander into less than God’s Very Best. That has not, does not and will never change God’s Love for us or intent to be a Good Father. He will always be. Just the father of the prodigal son, He waits in His Kingdom for you to accept your role as His Child and continue in His Blessing. As the New Year approaches, I am more convinced than ever before that He is a Good Father. In the days ahead as we fast and pray for 21 days, it is with the intent to be transformed even more in my role as Child of the Living God. To move deeper in His Presence, for my faith and confidence in my Father to grow more than ever before, I know that He is a Good, Good Father. I know that is Who He is. I am still journeying deeper and deeper into His Love on a quest to know Him completely. The Lord promises to withhold no good thing from those who walk blamelessly. Thanks to Jesus, I have been given the privilege of His Grace. It is enough for me to grab hold of God’s Goodness. Who better to tell me who I am and make me into that person than my Creator? (Ephesians 2:12-16)
Will 2016 be the year that you discover the Goodness of God for your life? That really is up to you. Every good thing in your life is from Him. (James 1:16-18) Whether you choose to love Him or not He is good so the rain falls on the just and unjust. One who tastes the Goodness of God will never forget it. The son remembered the father in this midst of the pit and so will you. It will always draw you back even in wandering. He is such a Good Father. You are loved by Him. Make the coming year the one that you desire and discover the Love of the Good Father reserved just for you. It is who you are. It is who I am. The Lord is truly perfect in all of His Ways.
2 Thessalonians 1:11-12 (NIV)
With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith. We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.