Devotional by BJ Plummer:
When I sat down to write this devotional I started with the first song “Good God Almighty” written by David Crowder. I looked at the scripture references and came across Nahum 1:7. I thought to myself… Nahum, really? We’re going to be singing and shouting “Good God Almighty” in this upbeat song and we’re referencing a book that is not really known for being joyful. Nahum is full of destruction and woe, so I thought it very interesting the first line of the scripture reference says “The Lord is good.” I remember thinking let’s dive into this a little more, so I went on a bible study of sorts.
The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; he knows those who take refuge in him.Nahum 1:7
This book is a collection of poems from the prophet Nahum, describing the downfall of Assyria, and its Capital city Nineveh. Assyria was one of Israel’s worst oppressors and one of the most violent and destructive armies the world had ever seen. The Babylonians would eventually overtake Nineveh and bring down the Assyrian Empire around 612 BC. But before that left a trail of destruction behind them. The book of Nahum is not a particularly joyful book, but I think that it has a very important message for us to understand. The book basically addresses the tragedy of violent oppression and human suffering throughout history. Now, we may not have an army like Assyria knocking on our front door, but each and every one of us has our own version of suffering and oppression in our own lives.
My question is simply what Pastor Ben asked us last week: Do you view God through your experiences, or do you view your experiences through who God is? Are we looking at our experiences through God’s lens? Are we trusting Him in faith, knowing that He is good even though we may not fully understand His ways?
I love how the scripture and the song lyrics parallel one another. Addressing our human suffering and the truth of who God is. The truth is:
In all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose.Romans 8:28
Verse one of the song says: “I can’t count the times I’ve called Your name some broken night, and You showed up and patched me up like you do every time”
Suffering can take many different forms: devastation, loss, brokenness, uncertainty, disappointment, just to name a few. But no matter the form, the beauty of the Gospel is that God will always be there for us despite what suffering we may endure. He is always loving us, protecting us, and living with us in these times to give us peace.
Verse two goes on to propose the question: “You say Your love goes on forever, that Your mercy never stops, so why would I assume You’d be somebody that You’re not?”
During times of suffering why do we tend to doubt God’s goodness? Because we are broken humans and we are viewing God from the viewpoint of of own situations, instead of viewing our situation through the filter of God’s unending love and grace. God says He is good, and if we believe the Gospel why would we assume that God is anything but good? If we love God and believe in the Gospel of Christ, we should be filled with the joy of knowing that God is always good, even amidst our sufferings.
One of my favorite verses in scripture sums this up perfectly:
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through Him we have also obtained access by faith into His grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.Romans 5:1-5
This scripture to me is such a beautiful reminder to me that even though life will throw difficult times our way, God’s love for me surpasses all hurt, anger, and frustration I may feel. This gives me peace among the storms of life. I can know that He is God and He is love. Everything was given for me on that day on the cross so that I could live in communion with him through each and every moment of life, even the impossibly difficult ones.
The Chorus lyrics are the conclusion I’d like to leave you with: “Good God Almighty, I hope You’ll find me praising Your name no matter what comes.”
When the armies of this life do come knocking on your door, do you have the faith to endure because you know who God is? Do you have the faith to trust that God is good no matter what comes? Is he your strong hold in the days of trouble? Or do you rely on your own strength? I know for myself, there are situations that I have encountered that I have not been able to endure alone. Believe me, I tried. But instead, relying on God’s strength and peace is the only thing that got me through.
I want to encourage us as believers to deepen our faith through prayer and through spending time in the word so that when the storms come we will have the strength to declare God’s love over every situation. So that we have the strength and the faith, like this song says, to “praise Your name no matter what comes.”