Bad News and the Goodness of God
A solar eclipse is when the moon passes directly between the path of the sun and the earth. In a total solar eclipse,
the moon completely blocks out the light of the sun. This is a rare occurrence, happening in any one location about
once every 400 years! Partial solar eclipses are more common in which the moon blocks out a part of the suns light.
Given the fact that the moon is about 400 times smaller than the sun, it seems impossible that it could completely block
out the sun’s light for any given period of time. The reason it is possible, though, it because the moon is about 400 times
closer to the earth than the sun.
That brings me to today’s topic. Last week I got some bad news. Things were actually going fairly well, school was out for the summer so my schedule was opening up and I was pretty excited about it. In spite of that, the bad news seemed to completely eclipse any good feelings I was having. A dark cloud started to settle over my summer, affecting my mood and my treatment of others. Of course I did what we all do at first, I wallowed a little bit in the bad news, feeling sorry for myself and adding up any other negative circumstances or woes that might make the pity party even more pitiful! Eventually though, I invited God into the black cloud. Interestingly, He quickly led me to a verse in Job. After Job had lost his family and his possessions, he was stricken with boils all over his body. As he sat in misery (the black cloud had descended) his wife advised him to “Curse God and die!” Job’s response to his wife was:
“He replied, “You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” Job 2:10
The truth, like rays of sunlight, began to pierce the black cloud! God had been good to me! I immediately began to recount the many ways God had shown His goodness to me. As I added up the good, it became obvious that the good God had showered upon me was much more than the trouble (maybe 400 times more)! The problem was that the bad news had snuggled up close to me and the memories of God’s goodness had gotten pushed into the distance. The choice to focus on God’s goodness brought it close to me again and put the bad news in perspective. It was still bad news but it no longer eclipsed the goodness of God in my life.
The Psalmist said in Psalm 27:13, “I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” I have to believe that the Psalmist was having a similar experience to my own, the trouble in his life was threatening to eclipse God’s goodness. Later, the refrain of Psalm 107 which is repeated four times says, “Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!” This is certainly good advice, whenever you get back news, begin to take an account of the goodness of God in your life!
In some ways, this echoes the teaching in Ten Life Choices in the chapter entitled, “Choose Truth”. The truth about God’s goodness can temper our negative feelings and strengthen us to trust in God’s goodness in spite of negative circumstances. I will leave you with a poem that I have quoted many times through the years and I believe is applicable to this lesson:
Three men were walking on a wall
Feeling, faith and fact
When feeling took an awful fall and faith was taken back
So close was faith to feeling, He stumbled and fell too
But fact remained and brought faith back
And faith brought feeling too.