The rich young ruler knelt before Jesus and asked, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” “Why do you call Me good?” Jesus replied, “No one is good except God alone.”
The issue of defining who or what is good has been contemplated by scholars and philosophers, occidental and oriental, for millennia. The result being that some people conclude that goodness is strict compliance to a carefully written code. Others ask why we need a written code. Instead they say we should ask, “Will this harm me or another? Often there are extenuating circumstances that make it necessary to disobey one or more written rules. The least harmful outcome would be what is good.”
In Matthew 7:11 Jesus said, “If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” God alone knows the long range fruit of a specific act. Therefore, God’s goodness will always guide Him to answer our prayers in accordance with the long range fruit of what will be best for all involved.
Believing in the goodness of God brings us assurance that the best possible outcome will always be the fruit of our prayers. When I ask for a safe journey somewhere, I rest assured that God will do or allow what is good for all involved. Paul, who was beaten, shipwrecked and stoned on more than several occasions, said in Romans 8:28. “We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” We might not now see that something is good. (I don’t on an almost daily basis.) But someday it will be made plain to us that God’s answer was the best possible answer.
Written by Roger Bothwell on Sept. 19, 2016
PO Box 124, St. Helena, CA 94574