Author Ava Pennington
Author Ava Pennington
God is good

When It Doesn’t Seem Like God is Good


Social media often receives a bad rap for being a timewaster. But during the current viral pandemic in which many of us are feeling isolated, platforms such as Facebook provide a helpful way to stay connected. And a recent post on Facebook especially caught my attention…

A friend posted about his successful recovery from illness. He announced the results with the added observation, “God is good!” Of course, the resulting comments were positive and echoed his praise:

  • God is good!
  • God truly answers prayer!
  • God is an awesome God!

We rejoiced in his results because we understood the magnitude of what might have been.

Still, our collective responses started me wondering. What if God had not extended His hand of mercy to my friend? What if he had not recovered as quickly as he did from the illness? Would we still have said:

  • God is good!
  • God truly answers prayer!
  • God is an awesome God!

Or would we have questioned the goodness of God?

I’ll admit, it’s easy to proclaim God’s goodness when life is proceeding well. But what about when unseen viruses besiege us? When a pandemic shatters our routines and threatens our health? And when we’re confined at home in quarantines? That’s when we are called to be intentional about what we say we believe. And not just what we say, but how we live it out.

A Prophet’s Example

We read these words in Habakkuk 3:17-18 (NIV). The prophet Habakkuk wrote:

“Though the fig tree does not bud
and there are no grapes on the vines,
       though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food,
     though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls,
     yet I will rejoice in the LORD,
I will be joyful in God my Savior.”

That’s difficult to do, is it? To rejoice in the midst of trial and suffering? But notice, Habakkuk is not saying we are to be joyful for the difficulty. No, he said he will rejoice in the Lord. He will be joyful in God his Savior.

Can you and I say the same thing? It means being intentional about our perspective. But I’m not offering mere encouragement to practice positive thinking. And I’m not suggesting we plaster a fake smile on our face as we listen to fearful news. Or pretend the supermarket shelves are not empty. No, this is about facing reality without allowing fear to overwhelm us. Will circumstances determine how we view our faith? Or will faith determine how we view our circumstances?

This is about being a living testimony. Think of the family, neighbors, and friends you and I have been witnessing to. The ones who have not been interested in the gospel. The ones who have given us a figurative pat on the head and said something to the effect of, “That’s nice for you if you need it.”

This is our opportunity to live differently because of who we belong to. To live out the reality of the relationship between what we believe and how we live. To show God’s peace is real. And we are the recipients of His peace because we belong to the Prince of Peace.

Habakkuk for today

So would you allow me to paraphrase Habakkuk for us? Today, we might say:

Though the schools are closed
     and there is no milk on the shelves,
 though the stock market fails
     and we’re practicing social distancing,
 though there are no disinfectant wipes
     and no toilet paper to be found,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
       I will be joyful in God my Savior.

Be encouraged. No matter what happens, God is good.
        Whether we understand our circumstances or not, God is good.
                  Whether our days are difficult or easy, God is good.

Do you believe this? Do you truly believe this in the midst of our present confined circumstances? An unbelieving world is watching to see if this faith of ours really does make a difference in the face of trouble.

Believe it in your heart and speak it aloud because it is always true:
          God is good, all the time. And all the time, God is good.


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  1. Rayma Zugel

    Thank you, Ava, for your timely blogs. I miss your face and your smile.

  2. Ava Pennington

    Thank you, Rayma. Miss you, too.

  3. Becky Henley

    Wonderful words to ponder and share. Thank you, Ava.

  4. Sue

    I needed this today. I love that Habakkuk passage. Praying to apply and practice what God is teaching through you. Thanks and much love!

  5. Ava Pennington

    Thank you, Sue. Love you, too!

  6. Dave Parks

    Well said.
    Thank you.

  7. John Williamson

    So true! Such wisdom.

    And above all, God is God!
    That’s what makes ‘God is good’ something to cling to.

    Thank you, Ava!

  8. Melissa Henderson

    Yes, yes, I am praising God. Praise Him in the good times and praise Him in the bad times.

  9. Anne Mackie Morelli

    The real test of our faith is whether we can continue to praise and worship in God in our suffering. It is always easier to remain faithful during seasons of prosperity and blessing, but can we still rejoice when we walk through loss and grief.

  10. Jessica Brodie

    Excellent and well-said. Sometimes it’s hard to see beyond the difficulty, but God is good in spite of and in the center of hardship. We can get through it better when we walk knowing He is by our side.

  11. Mary Armand

    God is good! Thank you for your wisdom and the reminders!

  12. Linda Sammaritan

    Going even deeper into the negatives of this pandemic:
    Though the hospitals are filled
    and there is not enough protective gear,
    though the healthcare workers are overwhelmed
    and no cure has been found;
    though loved ones are quarantined
    and some will not survive,
    yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
    I will be joyful in God my Savior.

    Praying that all who are facing the hardest times may have the comfort of this scripture.

  13. Ava Pennington

    Thank you, Linda. Yes, each of your additions are sobering reminders of our need to trust our Savior.

  14. Yvonne Morgan

    I really liked the way your used today’s events to summarize Hanukkah. Very thought provoking.

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