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5 & 6 August 2023 (Pastoral Page) IS GOD REALLY THAT GOOD?

By Elder Lynette Shek

During the course of our study of the Book of Acts this year, we have explored some important themes for us as a church and as individuals. We have thought about how we can flourish out of our comfort zone, and about letting the Holy Spirit fill us and do His work in us. We have also learnt the importance of prayer, and how vital it was for the early church. These are themes that we have heard about many, many times, and of course they are important. But I wonder if they have made a difference in the life of the church, and in our own lives. I believe that it has for some people, but if it has not for you, have you paused to think, why not?

At church camp this year, I asked a respected church leader among our midst how he found the camp. He said that it was enjoyable, but commented that for most of us, we have heard similar messages before. He was asking himself, how would it make a difference? How can the church be different, be radical, like the church in Acts? What would that take?

I think God can do that in many different ways. In the Asbury Revival earlier this year, young people who stayed to repent and pray, sparked a student movement among many more universities. In the early church, prayer and fasting resulted in the growth of the church. One of the things I have been pondering on for the past few weeks is what would happen if each of us learnt to trust God more by reminding ourselves each day that God is truly, really, that good.

We all fight a battle of faith and trust in our souls, because in this life, circumstances often cause us pain and make us wonder if He is trustworthy. The vicissitudes of life cause our hope in God to falter, the pains that do not go away make complaint seem more justified, and prayers without answer make us wonder if He is indifferent.

So is our God really that good? Does He look at us with eyes of delight, with eyes that see the goodness beneath the mess? Is He tenderly committed to our well-being? Does He jump up and down in joy when He thinks of us? Does His heart beat with excitement over who we will become? Does He love us enough to expose the dross in our lives, even though painful, and still amaze us with His grace?

Watching a video by Nick Vujicic gave me the answer. He shared that in his life, God did not always answer prayer. His parents prayed for limbs for him and the prayer was not answered. His father was dying of cancer, they prayed for healing and again, this prayer was not answered. Relief from suffering on earth did not come. And yet Nick says that he has joy and happiness and is healed. Nick tells us that God can do that for us, that God is truly that good. Today, God is asking us, “Do you trust me? Do you trust that I am really that good?”

Dear friends, when you wake up in the morning and throughout the day, remind yourself that God is indeed that good. Encourage each other with this thought. Give thanks to God for the covenant of life, healing and joy in Him. Thank God for Jesus, the spotless lamb who died so that you and I can be forgiven of our sins. Thank God for His peace, presence and guidance as we live our lives, step by step. Thank God that we have a great, unshakeable hope despite our circumstances. See how God can transform our hearts as we speak these truths to ourselves each day. And may the words of Zephaniah 3:17 be an encouragement: “The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing."

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