I put a sticky note on our computer screen weeks ago that says: “FAITH Assumes the Best of God!” I put it there to help me remember my New Years Resolution to resist grumbling and/or blaming others. So far, it has been very effective. In fact, every time I read the note an inward warmth floods my mind and heart that is difficult to describe . . . a rich and meaty chicken soup for the soul perhaps?
A faith that pleases God refuses to doubt His goodness when times get tough. Such was the faith of Joseph, who trusted God to the point of blessing his brothers when they knew they deserved his wrath. Genesis 50:19-21 gives credence to a rich and meaty faith that never doubted in God’s goodness despite the betrayal and heartache inflicted by his brothers. Joseph said to them,
“Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.” And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them.”
We tend to think of grace as a New Testament idea. However, Joseph was a man who demonstrated the reward of a faith that assumed God’s goodness as grace superceded any thoughts of revenge. I don’t know about you, but that is the kind of faith I want!
So where does that kind of faith come from? We take an important first step toward such faith, when we assume the best of God by refusing to grumble and instead own up to our part of a problem. When we grumble and doubt God’s goodness during the tough times, we lose the advantage of faith. In fact, we play Satan’s game as demonstrated in the Garden of Eden when he sewed seeds of doubt in Eve’s mind about God’s character:Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’” “You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:1-5)
Satan would have us think the worst of God, doubting His goodness and going our own way. Instead, when hardship comes, it is our God-given faith that propels us to run to Him for the help we need. I love how the image of God in Isaiah 30:18 mirrors the actions and attitude of the father in Jesus’ parable of the Prodigal Son. Here is the picture of God watching and waiting for us to turn back to Him in Isaiah 30:18,
Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you;
He rises to show you compassion.
For the Lord is a God of justice.
Blessed are all who wait for Him!
Now here is the picture Jesus painted in Luke 15, of a father whose son who left home to squander his inheritance. Having lost everything the son “came to his senses” (verse 17) and decided to return home in humble repentance. Now, consider how the image of God in Isaiah is reflected in verse 20B,
“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.“
How foolish we are to doubt God’s goodness in trials (whatever their source) rather than assuming the best of our faithful Creator! Whatever you are facing in your life right now, go to Him in faith. If you have been managing your life in your own strength or have sinned, repent NOW and give thanks for His love and mercy. He is so very worthy of your trust!
All to His Glory!