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Wanted reward does not always come

THAT’S A GOOD QUESTION

Alice Harrison examines the concept of goodness and what it has to do with God

My grateful son went on to be generous to his friends

MY son was taught a valuable lesson by my mother. When his brother snatched the biggest biscuit off the plate, my mum went into the kitchen to fetch some more. She turned to her delighted grandson, saying: ‘You get two because you didn’t snatch.’

Goodness was rewarded and the lesson was never forgotten. My grateful son went on to be generous to his friends and con­tent with the little he had materially, while delighting in strong relationships.

However, the Bible tells the story of a man whose goodness didn’t bring him such rewards. Job lost everything – his family, health and work. His friends suggested that his losses occurred because he had been unfaithful to God, but Job was sure this was not the case.

He knew he had been faithful and he questioned God to try to make sense of what had happened. Yet through Job’s horrible experience, God taught him about persever­ance and patience, and in the end he had a closer relationship with God.

Suffering is part of life. We can’t escape it. But we can find strength and peace when we realise that we are not alone and that God can use the situation for our good. The Bible tells us that ‘in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose’ (Romans 8:28 New International Version).

God is good and, somehow, he can bring goodness into our lives when we are fac­ing bad times. We need to trust him, wait patiently and depend on him.

I don’t say this flippantly or deny the immense pain suffering can bring. I know what it is to cry yourself to sleep at night and to fear what tomorrow will bring. But I also know that without any hope in God’s goodness, my experience would have been ten times worse.

Whatever is going on in our lives, we can trust God’s goodness and rely on him to bring us through.

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