A friend e-mailed me with the news that his mother’s cancer surgery had been successful. He ended his message with this statement: “God is God, good, and great.” As I pondered his words I was struck at once by their simplicity and profundity. How much truth those six little words contain. They summarize an entire Christian worldview.
To say that God is God is simply to remind ourselves of the First Rule of the Spiritual Life: He’s God and we’re not . That truth has become very important in my life. When I read my Bible I seem to find it everywhere–popping up on every page and in every biblical story. Because God is God, he does whatever pleases him and works in every situation of life in ways I cannot see and would not understand if I could see. This is a humbling truth because it brings me to my knees and forces me to admit that he alone is running the universe and I’m not running any part of it–not even the part I think I’m running.
To say that God is good means that his heart is inclined toward kindness. This gives me courage to pray for mercy in times of trouble. It also helps me to keep a positive perspective when life tumbles in around me. We often say that all things work together for good–and they do (Romans 8:28)–but that’s true only because God himself is good. He has promised to provide my every need–and because he is good, he will keep that promise. That means I can be content right now because I have everything I need at any given moment. If I truly needed anything else, God would give it to me.
To say that God is great means that he isn’t limited by my circumstances but can work through them for my good and his glory. A 69-year-old lady I’ve never met wrote me from Florida after reading one of my books . Through decades of suffering she never lost her faith–or her sense of humor. Here is how she puts it: “If not for the grace of God, forget it. Miracles one after another. Awareness of Christ in my life. It blows my mind.” What a wonderful testimony from one who has discovered God’s greatness in the midst of her pain.
Let these six simple words lift your spirits: “God is God, good, and great.”
God is God–be humbled.
God is good–be encouraged.
God is great–be thankful.