Is God Really Good?
Please read Psalm 34:1-22, then continue reading.
I want to concentrate on verse 8 because it is one of only a very few places in Scripture where God says to “test Him.” The psalmist has something he or she wants us to know. And that is that God is good even when nothing else is. The rest of this song of praise gives clear evidence that the writer knows there are many hardships in the world, but one fact overshadows all the rest—God is good. The writer essentially says, “If you don’t believe me, test Him yourself.”
But, even the writer seems to know the question that nags at us: If God made a world like this—one full of trouble and disease and disaster--how can God be good? Let’s look at some ways to look at the question.
The first thing we can say is that just because life is not easy, it does not mean God is not good. When we experience tragedy in our life, every one of us asks, on some level, “Why me?” But perhaps a better question is, “Why not me?” We could ask, “Am I not subject to the same laws of the universe? Why should I be immune to a disease no one else is protected from?”
Of course, I don’t want to push this too far, since there are some things that could fall outside of this argument. But, the premise is solid. After all, Jesus reminds us rain falls on the just and unjust alike.
Another thing we can say is to admit that much of the misery in our life is a result of some pretty bad choices we’ve made. Lifestyle choices contribute to some disease processes, accidents happen because we ride motorcycles without helmets (that one comes from my trauma nurse wife), relationship choices land us in some untenable situations, and a whole host of other things we do contribute to pain in our life. Does the fact that God does not override my freewill to make bad choices mean that God is not good?
When the psalmist writes, “Oh taste, and see that the Lord is good” three things jump out. First, this is a challenge to someone who has doubts. In asking us to test Him, God is saying that some doubt is okay to have, but not hang on to. Give Him a try—an honest, hold nothing back kind of try—and then see if God keeps His promises.
Second, we recognize this as the testimony of someone who’s already done it! It’s an invitation to honestly inquire, analyze, look, examine, and think about it. And then make up your own mind.
Third, this is where faith becomes real. Most of us want to say, “First, I must know, then I will do.” We want to know the outcome before taking the step. But faith requires just the opposite. Faith requires us to say instead, “First I must do, then I will know.” Or as I like to put it, “Sometimes you have to believe before you can see.”
Pastor Rusty <><
MORE GOOD NEWS AND UPDATES:
1. The Gathering, as it has been known in the past, will not return this fall. Rather, the Intentional Faith team is VERY excited to invite YOU to a visioning meeting for the new and improved version that focuses on fostering new and closer relationships with our neighbors! The format, we believe, will be around FOOD! Please come to the first meeting where every voice is important. It will be at 7:00pm on Tuesday, August 31. As an in-person meeting, there will be plenty of room for distancing. Please come help shape what God is calling us to do in this VERY EXCITING NEW MINISTRY!
2. The preschool is hiring a part time teacher to work in our 2s & 3s classroom. We are looking for someone who loves children, is caring and enjoys watching the children grow their love of learning. We are looking for someone to work Monday/Wednesday/Friday from 8am-12:30pm. If you are interested or know someone who might be interested please contact the preschool director Shannon Schwoebel by calling the office at 317-359-9651 or sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
3. We are hosting a fun, free, family event for everyone to take part in! This event, Back to School Bash, will take place on Saturday September 11, 11am-1pm. The purpose is to highlight area nonprofits, businesses and youth serving organizations in hopes of providing resources to all who attend. Participating vendors are invited to set up a table, bring informational handouts and be ready to share ways to get involved! The entry “fee” is a school supply to distribute to all the event guests. We are also highlighting many ministries from our church and inviting our neighbors to take part! In addition to the booths we will have free lunch and our bounce house and playground will be ready for play! We would love for you to join us in the fun! To volunteer, contact Community Life Minister Arin Schellenberg at email@example.com.
4. The United Methodist Women’s Rummage Sale is Saturday, September 18, 9am-3pm. Proceeds benefit local missions. Items will be collected in Hall CD on Thursday, September 16, 3-6pm and Friday, September 17, 10am-2pm. Clothing, books, household item and SMALL LIGHT furniture will be accepted. No pickup of items will be available. You may contact Sharon Fogleson at 317-941-3383 with any questions.
5. Old Bethel & Partners Food Pantry is incredibly blessed to partner with Meijer on East Washington street for their Simply Give Campaign. This campaign runs from now until October 2nd. Visit their store and purchase a $10 Simply Give card and Meijer will donate an additional $10. However, if you make your donation at their store on Saturday August 28th for the Double Match day, Meijer will turn your $10 donation into $30. You can also pick up these cards in the lobby of the church. Thank you for continued support of the Old Bethel and Partners Food pantry!
6. School Supply Drive: Through August, we are collecting school supplies for our community partners at Pleasant Run Elementary School. We are only collecting the following items: kids scissors, pencils, pens, erasers, pencil sharpeners, washable markers, glue sticks, 24-count crayons, rulers, and pencil boxes/pouches. You may place your donations in the special marked collection tub in the lobby.
7. Looking to get out of the house for a little bit? We still have openings for volunteer receptionist for Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday afternoon shifts (12:30-4pm). You can work each week or every other week. OR you might like to be a sub and serve when others are on vacation. Building traffic is slowly increasing and having receptionists to answer the phone is a GREAT help to our administrative staff! Contact Administrative Assistant Lynda Preston at firstname.lastname@example.org or 317-359-9651, extension 131.
8. This Sunday is Big Tent Worship at 10:00am with the Gospel group Witness. Volunteers are needed to serve the ice-cream after worship. Please contact Dick Richwine at 317-506-6800. There are no message notes.