By Jen Akin
“God is good? All the time. All the time? God is good.” This is a chant you might hear in summer camps and youth rallies around the globe. I was first introduced to it as a leader in a Wednesday evening program for marginalized kids. A college student at the time, I would pull up in my parents' old minivan and fit as many kids into it as I could and take them to church, feed them, worship with them, and teach them about the love of Jesus. This joyful exclamation of God’s goodness was a powerful encouragement to these kiddos whose lives were filled with poverty and violence. Their souls were ready to respond to this promise of God’s character in ways that I couldn't foresee. Spending time in the Bible and worship with them taught me much about what it means to lean into the goodness of God. That in him there is no darkness (1 John 1:5). His goodness is abundant (Psalm 31:19) – he never withholds it (Psalm 84:11). And it is a gift for everyone (Psalm 145:9).
This is a promise I have carried with me in the wake of struggles with infertility, financial strain, difficult interpersonal relationships, and the most recent decline of my dad’s health. David writes in Psalm 34:8, Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him. We often speak of the first part of this verse and end there as a final statement of God’s character. But the key to us experiencing this goodness is tasting and seeing as we take refuge in Him. It’s what these kids in my Wednesday night group 24 years ago knew.
So, as image bearers of our Creator, we carry the awesome responsibility to reflect His character, His goodness. As we lean into and take refuge in Him, we are in a place where darkness doesn’t easily grab hold, where we are abundant with grace and mercy, never withholding it, and extending it to all we have the privilege to come alongside. It isn’t always easy. We need help to see the good, especially in the midst of struggle, but He remains patient and waits with open arms for us to take refuge.
How good you are! Thank you for your never-ending, never-failing, always and forever love for us. Thank you for your mercy and your grace, for your kindness and compassion, for your steadfast nature – even when nothing seems secure. I pray you find us seeking refuge in you moment by moment, and that our souls would be open wide to your goodness so that we may extend the same generosity to others.
In Jesus’ Name,