Something funny happens when I talk to people about our current life. When I talk about how hard it can be, how angry I’ve been at God, how I know he is refining me, but how much it hurts every single day.
Some people stand beside me and say Amen. They look to the future with me, to the place God is taking me and the person He is making me and say “it will be worth it”.
Whereas some people respond with comfort, with compliments or, and this really is the crux, with a confidence that God will come and remedy the current difficulties.
It’s this that’s made me speak up about what I’m dubbing ‘the good God problem’. Admittedly the title is a touch provocative because, of course, He is a good God. He is endlessly good. One of my favourite songs, written by Jenn Johnson, talks about how God’s goodness runs after us and I feel the truth of that every day.
But, have you ever stopped to think about why God is good, about why you can trust in God’s goodness? I hadn’t until my teacher Emma Stark asked. Her answer? We can trust in God’s goodness because of His holiness.
It’s because He is holy, that He is good.
We tend to, rather humanly, reverse this and instead have made a God out of goodness. We have made goodness into the holy thing.
Psalm 89 v 14 says: “Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne.” He is a good God, He is love. But, his throne is built on righteousness and justice. It is because of that truth that we can trust in His goodness, in His love, in His mercy.
We cannot make the mistake of idolising God’s goodness to the point where we fail to see His work, His purpose and His presence, in the hardships.
God wants us holy, more than He wants us comfortable. I’ve lost track of the amount of times I’ve said that to myself these last two years. When my day feels insurmountably difficult, when I think about the state of our finances, about providing for our daughter as she grows, about my dad’s diagnosis I bring myself back to that truth: He wants us holy, more than He wants us comfortable.
He wants to indulge us, yes; He’s a good father. He wants us to have everything we need, yes; He’s a generous provider. He wants us to know that we are fully loved, yes; He is love itself.
But, I believe that before, or rather, alongside all of that, he wants us to be holy.
Our holiness is his purpose for us.
Our becoming holy is what allows us to come further in, to run completely into His arms.
Our holiness is what allows us to be family with Him.
For all of those reasons and more, He wants our holiness. Even if the road there is a difficult one, even if that means staying His hand from helping sometimes.
He wants us holy, more than He wants us comfortable.