Yesterday, in a weekly Bible study that I’m leading on the Book of James, we discussed what it means for us to rest in the “unrelenting goodness of God.” (See James 1:17: “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”) So I asked the group: What concrete steps we can take to deepen our awareness of and our trust in the beneficence of God’s character and the “desire to bless” that characterizes God’s purposes?
That’s not always easy, of course. Sometimes trials and hardships come our way, which – when seen through the wrong lens – become the occasion for us to call God’s goodness into question and to be dragged away into temptation and sin (see James 1:13-15). But when seen through the lens of wisdom (which God is eager to provide – v. 5), even our suffering can produce perseverance, which has the potential to move us toward maturity (v.4).
In today’s Daily Office from the Book of Common Prayer, a similar chord is struck. The prophet Isaiah is writing to a people who have experienced trial and hardship as a result of their failure to be a loyal covenant partner. But even though the people have known the pain of God’s rebuke, the Lord renews His promise of unending faithfulness:
In a surge of anger
I hid my face from you for a moment,
but with everlasting kindness
I will have compassion on you,”
says the LORD your Redeemer…
Though the mountains be shaken
and the hills be removed,
yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken
nor my covenant of peace be removed,”
says the LORD, who has compassion on you.
Isaiah 54:8; 10
Perhaps one of the ways that we learn to rest in the unrelenting goodness of God is to take the time to remind ourselves of precisely these promise (which you have now done).
May you be aware of and trust in God’s goodness today! And may His goodness flow through you so that others, too, may experiencing His everlasting kindness.