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The Definition of Good

by SARAH DEAL GOD'S GOODNESS Language learning Trust
The Definition of Good
“You are good, and what you do is good; teach me your decrees.”
Psalms 119:68

I had been in country just a month when my friend invited me to a nearby neighborhood to visit some of her close friends. Along the way, I frantically rehearsed a practical expression, designed to alleviate a bit of the awkwardness that comes with being a twenty-seven-year-old woman sporting a two-year-old language ability: “I’m new.” 

As we approached the small cluster of houses, one by one the women began to greet us, shaking our hands and chattering in strings of words too quick for me to comprehend. Nervously, I blurted out my rehearsed bit of language to the women who approached me. 

And one by one, they looked at me with confused faces. 

It was months before I realized that I had mixed up my vowels and instead communicated: “I’m in a hurry!” 

Oh, how definitions matter! How we describe ourselves to others will determine how our actions are interpreted. 

This is true of God as well! In Psalm 119, The Psalmist writes that God is good. This is the essence of who He is. 

The verse goes on to say that what He does is good. Not just that He can do good things, but that whatever He does IS, by definition, good! 

I will admit that there have been many times I have looked at the circumstances of my life and thought, “Wow, this is NOT good.” 

I think of those women, who had no context for who I was, and only had my word to go on. I cringe to think how they may have interpreted the afternoon! I was a quiet, somewhat aloof foreigner in too much of a hurry even to chat. What a difference that one clarifying piece of information would have made! 

Because I know God, I can look at my circumstances differently. My starting place needs to be His Word and how He defines Himself. I can rest knowing that He IS good, and whatever He does, or even sovereignly allows, is good. 

May I choose daily to see all of life through His goodness, trusting that He is, by definition, good. 

Closing Prayer
O Lord, we praise You for Your goodness. Thank You that You are good, that You do good, that You define goodness in our lives! With the Psalmist, we cry: Teach us! Teach us Your decrees so that we may understand more of Your ways. Our hearts seek to make sense of the mess of our circumstances, of the pain and suffering of this life and the realities all around us that do not translate as “good.” God, help us to trust that You are at work. That You are sovereign and in control and that You care. Help us to keep in perspective the Truth that our greatest need has been met in Jesus Christ and that our redemption and reconciliation have been won through Him. Amen.
Song: The Goodness of Jesus by CityAlight “May it be, come what may, that I rest all my days in the goodness of Jesus.” Amen!!
Book: When God Doesn’t Fix It by Laura Story In this book, Laura Story openly shares her own struggle with God’s goodness in the midst of broken dreams. Honest, thought-provoking, and full of hope in God’s character that stands strong through the storms of life!
Article: Nine Best Translation Apps for Traveling by The Points Guy Because, you know, it never hurts to double check your language before you go out…
Question for Reflection

What has God allowed recently in your life that has challenged your definition of “good”? How might your perception of your circumstances change when you recall the words of Psalm 119:68?

Sarah Deal
May 12, 2022

Recently, God has allowed co-workers in ministry to misunderstand my heart. This has been hurtful and painful, and I’ve wondered why God has allowed it. But God has reminded me to take a step back and reflect on His character—that He is good and that what He does is good, and that He has plan for what touches my life. I’ve also been reading through Job’s life, and although what I’ve been walking through is not nearly as troublesome as his trials, I know that God also has plan for my pain. I am humbled by His purposes, too great for me to even fathom! Job 36:15 gives some insight: “He delivers the afflicted by their affliction and opens their ear by adversity.” I can praise God through the pain, knowing that He is working in me a heart to hear Him and know His greatness even more.