It was not a pleasant scene.
I was chatting with two wonderful friends, Parker and Meg at their house when we were joined by two surprise guests—Mark and Abigail—who showed up to announce big news.
They were pregnant.
Pregnant with their first. Just had the ultrasound—healthy as a horse. And, wouldn’t you know, his employer was giving them a house so that there’d be enough room for Junior to run around, and their parents were just thrilled and oh, isn’t God good?
That question got asked a lot. Isn’t God good? It got asked until Meg politely excused herself.
It’s not Mark and Abby’s fault—they didn’t know that Parker and Meg have been trying to get pregnant for years now. With only miscarriages to show for it.
They’ve talked about how hard it is to see other couples have kids—and that’s to be expected. Anytime someone else gets something that we want, it’s difficult. But the pain here went deeper than just jealousy.
“Isn’t God good?” Yes, I suppose so. But that’s meant to be a rhetorical question—one we only ask when our circumstances are also good.
They accepted the offer! Isn’t God good?
Mike got a raise! Isn’t God good?
The doctor called and the tests came back negative! Isn’t God GOOD?
But what then are we to do with the rest of life? The times when the offer is refused, Mike is fired, and the tests come back worse than the doctor thought? Or, if you will, the times when the answer to the question “Isn’t God good?” isn’t quite so rhetorical?
In those moments, we turn to Job. I heard a woman once say “I don’t understand a word of Job. Not a damn word.” and that has stuck with me ever since. It is the book where the question of God’s goodness is an open one, and it finds no answer. It’s the book of the downtrodden, the brokenhearted, the disappointed and, I would think, barren. There are no sermon illustrations. No jee-whiz parting Red Seas or Lazaruses strutting out of the grave.
Merely the question: “Isn’t God good?
And the unsettling answer: “Who are you, oh man?”
This is why the “Isn’t God good?” line is of little use to us—or, at least, it will be until we have a better working knowledge of who God is and what we mean by “good.”
In Job, we see a man who was confused by God, distraught, and desperate for some answers. But he “did not sin by blaming God” (1:22) because he had a different mantra than “isn’t God good?”
It’s the same mantra Parker and Meg have held to through their heartache.
It’s Job 13:15:
“God might kill me, but I have no other hope.”