Some people are bold and come right out with it. For some of us it is more subtle. We have all done it…all asked, “God, are You good?”
My beautiful daughter died a little over a year ago, and when she did, God and I had some pretty frank discussions. I told him that I stand with Job in saying, “though you slay me, still I will hope in You. (Job 13:15)” I also told Him that hoping in Him did not mean I understood. Hoping in Him did not mean I always agree with Him. I told God I couldn’t see the value in His decision to take Amy. I wasn’t angry with God, but, oh, He left me confused, hurt, and questioning.
What I was really doing in the midst of that massive pain and all those conversations was asking, “God, are You good?”
You have done it, too. Like me, you might not have asked the question directly. But, if you have ever asked him why: “why am I unemployed, why am I unmarried, why am I lonely, why am I childless, why was I abused, why was passed over for a promotion, why does my child suffer, why do I suffer, why did my life not turn out the way I planned, why is there rape, murder, war, hunger, poverty, injustice?” If you have ever asked Him why, you are really asking Him, “God, are You good?”
The answer to our question lies in Good Friday.
The answer lies in a another question:
Why did He pay for our sins on a cross?
Why did He choose this horrific, violent act of physical and emotional torture as His means to die for the redemption of our sins? Why did He allow Himself to endure the torment of the taunting, mockery, spitting, shame, nakedness, excruciating pain?
The answer…because He is good. On this Friday, so awful for Him, so good for us, He restored the broken relationship between God and me and between God and you. That He died for us would have been, should have been enough. But, because of the way He died, we have no cause to question the goodness of God.
The horror of the cross promises every human being that Jesus Christ, God the Son, entered every suffering we would ever endure. He knows the depth of our suffering. He understands our pain deeply. When we approach and accuse Him with our questions, asking why, but really asking, “Are you good,” He points us to the cross.
We would not trust God if He had not also suffered. With our eyes on the cross we learn to trust Him because He voluntarily entered into pain more horrendous than we can ever fathom.
Physical and emotional suffering is a part of the fallen world in which we live. God did not have to suffer to die for us. He suffered because He loves us. He chose to enter every agony we would ever endure and a result of that choosing is that He has sympathy and empathy and compassion for our every need. In suffering beyond the scope of endurance, He provided salvation complete with Hope that we can trust.
We trust because He entered into our pain.
We hope because He did not remain there.
He wasn’t a victim to pain.
He was victorious over it.
He went to the cross and drank the cup of the wrath of God so that we could have our relationship with God the Father restored.
And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Matthew 27:46.
Grief staggers the senses. Our hurts and confusion overwhelm our emotions impairing our ability to see, to hear, to think clearly.
Only God pierces through that cloudiness one moment, one prayer, one Bible verse, one hymn, one tear at a time.
He suffered so we could trust His compassion.
He was forsaken so we never have to be.
It is Good Friday and God is good!
I will not die but live, and proclaim what God has done! PS 118:17