Jump Start # 2252
Psalms 73:1 “Surely God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart!”
NOTE: With the New Year’s Holiday, there will be no Jump Starts on Monday or Tuesday.
We’ve come to the end of the year. This is our last Jump Start for the year. Sunday will be the last worship of the year. Has it been a good year, or are you ready to put this year in the books and turn the page for better days? Have you learned anything this year?
So often, we measure how a year is and we view God based upon the blessings in our lives. God is good, we say, if things are good in our lives. We have health, we have money, and things are running smoothly, oh, God is good. However, if we are stuck in a dark valley and things are difficult and the blessings are few, then we tend to wonder about God. Why, we ask. Why won’t God answer our prayers, we wonder. When will the blessings return. This thinking is common, but it is also faulty.
God is good. God is holy. The Scriptures define and describe God this way. Our verse today states, “God is good to Israel.” God is good to me, we sing. However, are those thoughts qualified and limited to only the good times in our lives? For instance:
Is God good when you have the flu?
Is God good when there is a death in the family?
Is God good when you are unhappy?
Is God good when money is tight?
We tend to see God only through the lens of our lives. Our observation is limited and often slanted because of our perspective. And, because of this, there are times when we must admit that God is not good, because things are not good in our lives. This is why this thinking is faulty. God is good, period. God is good, even if my life isn’t good at the moment. God is good, even if I am currently in a valley of death. God is always good.
There may be times when we are facing a giant of a problem. There may be moments when we are suffering because of our faith. There may be seasons when all the hedges protecting us have been removed. God was good, even when Daniel was sitting in a lion’s den. God was good, even when Job lost everything around him. God was good, even when the apostle Paul was dragged out of a city and stoned nearly to death. God was good, when Antipas was killed. God was good, when Abel was killed. God was good, when Stephen and then James were killed.
God doesn’t change. Our lives have good moments, everyday moments and bad or tough moments. There are times when we are happy and other times when we are sad. There are moments where we are excited and moments where we are bored. There are moments we are upset and angry and moments when everything seems fine. Through all of those moods, moments and times in our lives, God has remained the same. God is good. God is good no matter what happens to me.
God is good even during the moments when we wonder if He heard our prayers. God is good even when the answer to our prayers has been “No.” God is good. This is a hard principle to grasp and most in the world do not see it this way. Their view of God is based solely upon what happens in their lives. This is why some are glad to worship God one day and another day, they are so angry with God that they are cursing Him. Why is it this way? Because they can not view God separate from their own lives. They become the definition of God.
So, as we close the books on this year, we realize and understand that God has been good. For some, this year may have been filled with pain, surgeries, disappointments and even death. The year seemed so long for some. Yet, God is good. For others, it’s been one of the best years in their lives. A wedding. A baby born. A graduation. A new job. Life has been good for them. God is good.
And, for us, the people of God, there are a few things to take away from this year:
First, there has been much to be thankful for. There has been blessings and joys and wonderful memories over this past year. There has been sermons that have helped us. There has been classes that taught us, reminded us, and helped us get closer to the Lord and be stronger in our faith. There has been new people in our lives. There has been some sad farewells. There has been many sins forgiven throughout the year. But through all of this, we must be thankful. Thankful for all that God has done.
Second, there has been some great lessons learned. Sometimes it is in hardships, trials and troubles that we learn the most. We learn about character. We see the importance of priorities. We have been helped and we have helped others. We look back and see mistakes and learn from them. We remember great discussions over the Bible. We remember visiting preachers and the wonderful lessons that they taught. We saw some obey the Gospel. We saw some coming back after being away for a long time. Today, we are better, stronger and closer to God than we were this time last year. We’ve had a year of Bible in our hearts and in our souls. We have learned much.
Third, faith and hope are what opens the door for the new year. Who would have known all the things that happened to us this past year, other than the Lord. Our travels. Our trials. Our ups and downs. We journey by faith, knowing that the Lord is in charge. This coming year is an unknown. Will we have surgery? Will there be a death in the family? Will there be tears? Will there be smiles and happiness? One thing we know, the Lord journeys with us. Through faith, we trust God. Through hope, we know that even the darkest days will pass and Heaven awaits us. How few in Judah really understood that a day came and they were overcome by the Babylonians and many were taken captive. How few understood that years later, the same city of Jerusalem, would be overcome by the Romans. What awaits our nation? We don’t know. Is this the year that the Lord will come? Faith and hope is what gets us through the unknown.
We’ve picked up several new readers to our Jump Starts this year. Thank you for taking time to be part of our Jump Start family. Thank you for your kindness and encouragement you give to me. May the Lord be with us and more so, may we be with the Lord, in this coming year.
God is good.