Let Him Do What Seems Good.

I am trying to focus for my Bible study this Thursday.  I was contemplating Hannah for a devotional, but I am side-tracked by a passage further down in 1 Samuel chapter 3.  Samuel is hearing the Lord for the first time.  And when he finally understands it is God talking to him, he gets a message about the upcoming death of Eli’s sons:  “And I declare to him that I am about to punish his house forever, for the iniquity that he knew, because his sons were blasheming God, and he did not restrain them.  Therefore I swear to the house of Eli that the iniquity of Eli’s house shall not be atoned for by sacrifice or offering forever.”  (chapter 3:13,14)

And what is Eli’s response, when Samuel tells him this?  “It is the Lord.  Let Him do what seems GOOD to Him.” 

How many of us would respond like this?  I can not imagine being told the Lord was angry enough with me and my children that He was going to punish my house forever.  And, I am certain most of us do not have a trust in God’s sovereignty such that we actually believe His punishing us and our offspring would be Good to Him.  There is no getting around the Hebrew for this word either.  What is good, what is pleasurable, what is agreeable to Him….

I think, especially in light of all the comments I get on my Shack quotes thread, that we are so accustomed to believing what is GOOD to God is the same thing as what we might consider to be good.  Good to God is not suffering.  Good to God is not being in pain.  Good to God is not experiencing loss, or hardships or grief.  It is not having to lose a mommy, a daddy, a brother, a baby in the belly.  It is not going through a dark spot in your marriage.  It is not dealing with substance abuse, or addictions, or eating disorders.  It is not experiencing lonliness, or the pain of divorce, or disease.  And those are just things people close to me are struggling with. 

You see, I know that you are hurting.  I know what it means to suffer, and to weep with others who suffer.  I do not know your pains.  I do know that if you read The Shack, and you defended The Shack, it’s because you hurt too.  It is because you want to be held by God.  Your heart is breaking, and God does not seem GOOD right now.

He is.  Even in the darkest days, He is The Lord.  He will do what seems GOOD TO HIM.  It may hurt for a while – but joy will come in the morning.  Maybe not tomorrow morning.  Or the morning after…  Maybe not for many mornings.  But He will do what is best.  Always.  We can rest in that.

How could Eli call it good?  Because he knew which God He spoke of.

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. susan
    Feb 03, 2009 @ 14:20:12

    WELL WRITTEN my friend.
    as usual! 🙂

    God is good. (not our human standard of ‘good’)

    Reply

  2. beijaflor77
    Feb 14, 2009 @ 05:48:04

    Nicole,

    Thanks so much for sharing this. I have been a non-participatory reader of your blog for a while now, but I just want to say how much I appreciate your insight in this post into the relationship of suffering and God’s goodness.

    As someone who has personally dealt with (and is still dealing with) suffering, I have often questioned God’s goodness. But in recent years God has shown me my pain and trials are actually a blessing in disguise. The phrase I like to use is “severe mercy.” Suffering is a form of God’s severe mercy. As C.S. Lewis said, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: It is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”

    My pain and weakness are what help me see my need of God. I tremble to think of where I might be if God hadn’t allowed pain and suffering into my life. He is, indeed, a good God, and I thank Him for every weakness, for every bit of suffering. It is in my weakness that He is made strong.

    Reply

  3. Nicole
    Feb 14, 2009 @ 18:25:33

    Not prone to tears – your thoughts have really touched me Beijaflor… Thank you for sharing. I do not know what you have gone through, but I am so in love with the God that can bring you to that satisfying place of knowing He is good, all the time. You are in my prayers today.

    Reply

  4. Marie
    Feb 20, 2009 @ 19:02:29

    I reciprocate the thanks, Nicole. Your prayers are appreciated, and I always seem to come away from reading your thoughts on this blog encouraged and challenged. A good combination.

    ~Marie (i.e., Beijaflor)

    Reply

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