The Rev. Benton Heisler is confident that trust in these three simple truths about God’s goodness will help United Methodists meet the challenges of 2020.
Director of Connectional Ministry, Michigan Conference
I remember the very first time, nearly 25 years ago in Denver, Colorado when I was in a worship service as the preacher beckoned, “God is Good…and the congregation replied, “All the time.” Preacher, “All the time…” Congregation, “God is Good!”
It was the now-retired Bishop Woodie White. He went on to describe a personal story of sitting down next to his aging mother, the circumstances were not “good.” “How are you, Mom?” Woodie had asked. She immediately went to this catechism of her faith. “God is good all the time and all the time God is good.”
I recently finished a book written by Adolf Hansen entitled “Three Simple Truths.” He writes about how this first truth about the character of God is rooted in Psalm 100:5: God is good, God’s faithfulness endures forever and God’s faithfulness to all generations. Many times, our circumstances are not so good. But that never changes the character of God and it quickly brings us to the second truth Rev. Hansen outlines.
God works for good in everything. Such a belief about the activity of God is grounded in the scripture passage from Romans 8:28: “God works for good in everything with those who love God, who are called according to God’s purpose.” Never is it promised that “everything is good.” We are clearly aware of plenty that is destructive, painful, unjust, and not good. This truth simply reminds us that as disciples who love God and respond to the call of God in our lives, God has the capacity to work in and through that moment for the “good answer,” which only God alone may initially see.
The third truth is simply an invitation by God: Trust in the Lord, no matter what. Proverbs 3:5 teaches about this invitation. “Trust in the Lord, with all your heart and do not trust your own understanding.” There are moments when the invitation is difficult to accept. We think we know the best answer, the best path, the best payback, the best next step. Sometimes the most courageous faith step to be taken is to wait. Not lean on our own understanding but allow the light of God’s grace and wisdom to shine upon the moment and reveal, in God’s time, the “best next good step” which God truly desires for us.
As we enter 2020 there will be any number of challenges that await us, experiences that are not good on the surface or in the potential implications, and moments that we may be inclined to simply trust our own judgment and instinctive reaction. I invite us all to remain connected to God daily in prayer and the study of scripture as these three truths and many others are revealed to us. Then as the Holy Spirit guides us, let us live and witness to others of the transformative power these truths have in our lives and can have for all who call upon the name of Jesus as their Lord and Savior.