ODJ: God’s good nature

February 18, 2016 

READ: Habakkuk 3:1-19 

The Sovereign Lord is my strength! He makes me as sure-footed as a deer, able to tread upon the heights (3:19).

Occasionally I tell people that my wife attended university on a dodgeball scholarship. Some people naively react with, “Oh, really?” Others call me on it. “Dodgeball? Seriously? When did thatbecome a scholarship sport?”

You see, while Leisa was in primary school, her gym teacher accidentally struck her head with a dodgeball. The resulting concussion gave her long-term problems that led to a lawsuit. She eventually earned a college degree by paying for her tuition with the court settlement from her case. Oh, and she met me at the same university. Something good came out of something bad. (Okay, bring on the jokes about the injury clouding her judgment!)

We’d like to think that the bad things in life always turn to good. May I gently suggest that that’s a faulty theology? Life on this broken but beautiful planet is a complex blend of good, bad, thrilling, and mundane. Our Sovereign God can handle it all. He doesn’t “need” something bad to happen so He can do something good. He will do something good. It’s His nature!

The prophet Habakkuk observed that God was about to initiate something terrible. “Pestilence marches before him; plague follows close behind” (Habakkuk 3:5). His vision of apocalyptic devastation caused Habakkuk to ask, “Was it in anger, Lord, that you struck the rivers and parted the sea?” But then, the answer: “No, you were sending your chariots of salvation!” (v.8). God would turn terror into deliverance.

Amid all the destruction, the prophet’s confident conclusion remained in the present tense: “The Sovereign Lord is my strength! He makes me as sure-footed as a deer, able to tread upon the heights” (v.19). In God, we always find goodness.

—Tim Gustafson

365-day-plan: Numbers 12:1-16

How did Paul view his bad circumstances in Colossians 4:2-6, and what did he urge his fellow believers to do? 
Can you think of anything good that has come out of the bad things that have happened to you? How does God’s goodness encourage you as you face the challenges of today?